Thursday, September 08, 2005

Health Insurance Alternative for Artists

The AP has a story that I hope gets the attention of health care institutions around the country. A bartering system has been created by Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center in Brooklyn whereby artists can trade service for health care:

The exchange is just one aspect of the hospital's effort to promote a plan that provides care on a sliding scale to working people who don't have health insurance but make too much money to be eligible for Medicaid or other government programs.

Artists who sign up for the plan can pay out of pocket based on their income or offer their services.

For every hour an artist volunteers, the hospital puts 40 credits — the equivalent of $40 — into a health care account to be used for medical expenses.

About 150 people have signed up for the plan through a special hot line set up for artists and performers, and roughly 40 have expressed interest in the exchange part of the program.
A cursory search did not turn up that special hot line, but the center's general number is (718) 963-8000.

One of the most frequent reasons I hear from artists who wish they could, but don't, quit their day jobs is they need the health insurance. Until we get a President or Congress that cares about the career-crippling costs of insurance for artists, it's good to know bartering alternatives like this exist. If you know of any other such set-ups, please share. Woodhull medical Director Dr. Edward Fiskin explained that they were motivated to create this program for artists "because they're our neighbors." Here's to good neighbors!

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Image via ClampArt Website: Michael Meads: Ryan with broken arm IV, 2003, Cibachrome print, 20" x 16", edition of 10 or 10" x 8", Edition of 10

2 Comments:

Blogger Mark said...

Fabulous program! Not far removed from the previous post about taxable value of artwork (you know, the post before the shrunken baby head). Most artists are only poor in available cash, not potential. Creative vision is needed all around.

9/08/2005 01:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Blue Cross of California said...

That sure is a great program and great to see artists helping to make a difference in our health care system.

12/27/2005 01:35:00 PM  

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