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Topic: Health Insurance
Message: Posted by: Salazar Magic (Jul 24, 2003 10:29PM)
Being an Independent Contractor or Self-Employed, we do not get the same benefits as if we were working for a large corporation.

Does anyone out there know of cheap Health Insurance company?
Message: Posted by: Brent Allan (Jul 25, 2003 12:17AM)
My full time job is that of an insurance broker. Now, since you are in Jersey, and I am licensed in Illinois, I cannot directly help you. However, check the phone book for independent brokers.

There are plenty of "cheap" insurance companies out there. As long as you never have to use your insurance. Cheap is not necessarily good. Blue Cross Blue Shield can always be counted on to have decent benefits, but nobody will ever accuse them of being cheap. They can be rather expensive. There are many other companies out there.

The more coverage you want, the more it will cost. If you want office visit copays for your doctor and prescription discounts and a low deductible, expect to pay a lot in monthly premiums. If you just want a high-deductible major medical policy that is only for protection against major medical emergencies (like being hospitalized), then you can get away with paying less in premiums. It all depends on what you want.

Anyone can feel free to PM me if they have any questions. Since I am only familiar with the insurance laws in my state (Illinois), I may be able to only give very general advice. Anyone who IS in Illinois, I would be very glad to help you find the right insurance for your needs.
Message: Posted by: David Todd (Jul 25, 2003 07:53AM)
This is a very good topic. Thank you Brent , for your professional advise .

My company has recently been through another round of downsizing and I'll be a "freelancer" again before the end of August . (I do cartoons and illustration ) . I have been gradually working towards expanding my peformance schedule with magic shows to be at least a part-time/almost full time job in addition to the freelance art assignments I will be working on out of my home. Being kicked out of my present full-time job is coming about a year ahead of my plans as far as expanding into more performing (for money) , so I am having to scramble to find things like affordable health insurance . This is something that I had not planned on having to deal with for at least another year, but the issue has been forced upon me .

This side of the business of being a self-employed peformer is one that I would like to see discussed in more detail here on the Magic Café by those who are already in the game full time .
Message: Posted by: drhackenbush (Jul 25, 2003 10:24PM)
When I was laid off two years ago (the best thing that ever happened to me, business-wise), I made use of the COBRA insurance plan through my former employer, which kept me covered for 18 months. After that, I made use of the plans offered by one of the organizations I belong to (ASCAP) and got my current insurance through them. Cobra isn't exactly cheap, but it is a great way to keep the insurance going while you figure out your next step as you make the transition to being self-employed. I am not sure, but some of the magic societies might also offer insurance to its members, perhaps at a special rate.

Stay well,
Message: Posted by: Brent Allan (Jul 25, 2003 11:39PM)
I know the IBM and SAM offer liability insurance at a special rate to its members, but I do not believe they offer health insurance.

Charley is correct in that COBRA can keep you going for up to a year and a half, but it is expensive. Unfortunately, most self-employed magicians do not belong to an organization that they can get health benefits through. The next best thing is to have a spouse who works for a company that offers health insurance as a benefit!
Message: Posted by: Allan (Jul 30, 2003 11:25AM)
IBM offers a health insurance plan to its members. The number to call is 1-800-873-2884. It is not available in all States. I have no idea if its good or bad, as it is not available in my state.
Message: Posted by: Salazar Magic (Aug 11, 2003 08:42AM)
So how much do you expect I would pay for insurance?
Message: Posted by: The Village Idiots (Aug 11, 2003 09:01AM)
I am looking into AFLAC. Not because of the *** duck but because I hurt myself six weeks ago.

While working on a cruies ship I broke my leg. Not onstage during a show, just on crew deck celebrating Canada day. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Now I am laid off for 3 months or so. Fortunately the cruise line paid the hospital bill but I need insurance to pay bills if I can't perform.

That is what AFLAC does.

Looking into things,
Will :stout:
Message: Posted by: Brent Allan (Aug 11, 2003 10:01AM)
I am not an AFLAC agent, but I would not expect to get anywhere by pursuing that insurance now. The purpose of insurance is to get it when you don't need it, for times when you DO need it. If you wait until you need it, you won't be able to get it. Just like you would be declined for health insurance if you applied after you learned you had cancer.

Best of luck to you, however.
Message: Posted by: Eldon (Aug 11, 2003 03:49PM)
IBM does offer health insurance. They say they did a lot of work finding a good deal. It took me one day to find a much better deal with Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Message: Posted by: MagicalPirate (Aug 31, 2003 07:21PM)
So why don't performers just create an organization that would have enough members that some insurance carrier would consider large enough to go after. If big corporations can get the copay and doctor visit insurance then we should be able to do the same by creating a group they would be interested in covering. I'm interested in seeing others peoples ideas on this.

Message: Posted by: Brent Allan (Aug 31, 2003 07:57PM)

Unfortunately, it doesn't quite work that way. Size of the group actually has little to do with it. The minimum size requirement for a group policy is only two people.

For a group to be covered, all members have to have a financial interest in one another. It can't just be a few people in the same profession. I am guessing that the IBM got away from this by sort of presenting themselves as a Union. Unions can get group coverage as all members pay dues to the union, which in turn offers them specific benefits.

Insurance companies are very thorough in checking things out when a group applies for a policy. The companies require a census of the group, a Quarterly Tax and Wage Statement (which has been filed with the government) and sometimes other paperwork as well.

Granted, these are how things work in my state of Illinois. Insurance Law is something handled by the state, and each state is different.

I would be more than happy to answer any other questions people may have about insurance. Just keep in mind, I can only answer factually about Insurance Law in Illinois, and can only offer general advice when it comes to other states.
Message: Posted by: Jim Snack (Aug 31, 2003 09:07PM)
I obtain health insurance through my local arts council, which has a group plan with a local HMO for artist members. I find it to be a better plan than the one offered through my local chamber of commerce. It costs over $600 per month for family coverage, but that's just a cost of doing business.