Now is the right time to become an American Federation of Musicians member. From ragtime to rap, from the early phonograph to today's digital recordings, the AFM has been there for its members. And now there are more benefits available to AFM members than ever before, including a multi-million dollar pension fund, excellent contract protection, instrument and travelers insurance, work referral programs and access to licensed booking agents to keep you working.

As an AFM member, you are part of a membership of more than 80,000 musicians. Experience has proven that collective activity on behalf of individuals with similar interests is the most effective way to achieve a goal. The AFM can negotiate agreements and administer contracts, procure valuable benefits and achieve legislative goals. A single musician has no such power.

The AFM has a proud history of managing change rather than being victimized by it. We find strength in adversity, and when the going gets tough, we get creative - all on your behalf.

Like the industry, the AFM is also changing and evolving, and its policies and programs will move in new directions dictated by its members. As a member, you will determine these directions through your interest and involvement. Your membership card will be your key to participation in governing your union, keeping it responsive to your needs and enabling it to serve you better. To become a member now, visit www.afm.org/join.

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Home » Officer Columns » Secretary-Treasurer » Check Out Your Health Insurance Choices on November 15!


Check Out Your Health Insurance Choices on November 15!

  -  former AFM International Secretary-Treasurer

On November 15, the second open enrollment period will begin, allowing you to enroll in health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). If you don’t have health insurance, this is the time to sign up; if you do have coverage, it’s important to re-evaluate your health care needs.

If you purchased new insurance through the marketplaces last year, you’ve likely received yourre-enrollment notices. Open enrollment starts November 15, 2014 and runs through February 15, 2015.

Individual consumers enrolled in qualified health plans will have until December 15, 2014 to pick a new plan with coverage starting on January 1, 2015. Otherwise, you’ll be automatically re-enrolled in the plan you purchased previously, which could cost more in 2015.

People already enrolled in qualified health plans will likely need to shop around if you want to get the best deal in 2015. If your income has increased, you may end up owing the government money for a tax credit that is too large. Automatically re-enrolling in your same plan could also mean missing out on an increased tax subsidy—which means you’ll end up paying more than necessary toward your premium each month.

During the active re-enrollment process, you can update your personal details in order to get a new, accurate tax credit estimate and avoid paying too much or owing the government a lump sum at tax time.

The Working America Health Care program can help! One great resource for shopping around and getting recommendations on the best plan to fit your needs and budget is to go through the Working America Health Care program. Through the program, you can access a marketplace with the most plans available.

As an added bonus, when you use the program as AFM members, you’ll also be eligible for a complementary Health Advocate service that provides end-to-end coordination of your health care after you get insurance. They can answer questions about your health care coverage, clarify in- and out-of-network questions, help negotiate medical bills, recommend treatment options, doctors/specialists, and more.

Regardless of whether you’re covered now or not, you should shop around to see what new plans and tax credits or subsidies may be available and make sure you’re getting the best plan to fit you and your family’s needs and budget. The plans available in your area may have changed for 2015.

The Marketplace estimates that in 2015 there will be a 25% increase in the number of companies offering plans on the Marketplace, meaning you could find a more affordable plan, one that includes more of your doctors, or one that covers more services.

If your current plan is the best option, you can renew it. If you’ve found a better one, go ahead and sign up for it. Don’t forget that, either way, if you go through the Working America Health Care program, you’ll receive the complementary Health Advocate service.  Reminder: You must be covered with health insurance or risk paying a fine of at least $325.

How can you explore your options and enroll in health insurance starting November 15?

Visit WorkingAmericaHealthCare.org/AFM, call 1-855-589-4253, or attend an educational enrollment event in New York City, with live AFM entertainment, on November 17 from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 pm at the Hotel Trades Council, located at 305 West 44th Street (off of 8th Avenue).

We’ll provide an overview of the program and your eligibility for tax credits and subsidies—plus tell you how to connect to licensed agents to walk you through the enrollment process.

If you’re interested in Union Plus Dental Savings, please visit UnionPlus.org/Dental or call 1-877-570-4845.







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