Thousands of actors, musicians and other creative professionals in New York City are at risk of losing or have already lost their health-care coverage because of coronavirus-related shutdowns.
With Broadway and other theater closures now stretching past 10 months, actors and others in the industry have limited options for keeping their health insurance, which is often provided through union plans that offer coverage based on time worked. Enrollment through the Actors’ Equity Association, which covers actors and stage managers, has already dropped by nearly a quarter, with 5,509 members covered at the start of this year compared with more than 7,200 at the end of 2019.
Officials estimate enrollment will continue dropping by about 10% monthly, with just over 4,000 members covered at the end of March, according to a spokesman for the Equity-League Benefit Funds, a separate organization that governs the union members’ benefit programs. Members need to work a minimum number of weeks to qualify for six months to a year of coverage, and in normal times performers often take on extra jobs to make sure they hit the threshold.