The Future of Music Coalition, a non-profit advocacy organization for musicians, conducted a survey in August which revealed that 42 percent of professional musicians lacked any form of health insurance – a number that is nearly twice the national average. Thankfully, a movement is afoot to change that.
Recently, legendary singer-songwriter Carole King teamed up with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in an effort to spread the word about health coverage for musicians. Together, they produced the video below. “I just want to encourage everybody in my industry, no matter how old or how young, you can get health care and you should,” King said.
HeadCount.org, an organization best known for registering voters at concerts, is now targeting musicians and educating them about their options. Described as “a music oriented civic engagement organization” by executive director Andy Bernstein, HeadCount focuses on musicians because they recognize the power and influence they hold.
“When a musician has a good experience and talks about it, it sort of demystifies the whole thing for the public at large,” Bernstein noted. To help people get informed, they’ve created a 24 hour hotline for music industry professionals dedicated to answering questions about health care. Bernstein likened it to a sort of “tour manager for your health care, somebody who really helps you organize everything, helps you figure out what you need, and [can] be there to assist you.”
It’s not only the up and coming musicians that are getting health insurance for the first time. Musicians in popular bands are also looking into their healthcare options. Obamacare and the new healthcare.gov system have changed the game in many ways, as everyone can now go to “a website where you can compare pricing, compare different plans, compare different companies,” which “is totally new,” Bernstein said. The goal of HeadCount is not to say what laws or politics are right or wrong, but to simply help the public become more engaged and knowledgeable about their options.
Korby Lenker is a Nashville musician that recently contributed this video for the Affordable Care Act detailing his experiences with healthcare. Lenker had previously been uninsured, but realized as he was getting older that “things do break down” and insurance was something he should think about. The peace of mind that comes with having health insurance and the ability to go see doctors regularly are the biggest benefits, according to Lenker. “In my case it really only took an hour and a half tops to fill all that paperwork out, to look at all the plans and make all of the decisions that you need to make,” he said. “It’s available, so why not take advantage of it?”
For more information about HeadCount, you can visit their website or call their 24 hour hotline at (919) 264 – 0418 to get your questions answered about health insurance. For more information about the new health care options and how to sign up, you can check out healthcare.gov. The deadline to sign up for coverage is March 31st.