The March 31st deadline for health care enrollment is looming. Are you and your team set up?
Perhaps the real question is whether or not you have taken all of the necessary steps.
It’s actually quite surprising at how many people aren’t aware at the penalties that can be incurred for not having or supplying health insurance, and if you’re one of these people, it’s imperative that you talk to the right people to make sure that you don’t get fined.
For musicians, it’s a matter of asking the right questions, and getting the right advice to avoid the unnecessary expense. Enter HeadCount.org
Headcount's mission is to promote participation and democracy through music as well as educate people through the powerful medium that is music.
It has been operating for 10 years, and started out as a platform to help register voters for the 2004 presidential election. Since then, they have executed many initiatives such as #SoundOff, a Twitter platform that allows anyone to tweet directly at Congress and create an open dialogue with lawmakers, nationally-broadcasted PSAs, and much more.
“It’s all about keeping people informed, and harnessing the power of musicians,” co-chair Andy Bernstein states, who understands the reach and the influence that musicians possess. It is this power that has helped the organization register over 300,000 voters, and achieve much more.
Every cog of the industry is represented in its board of directors, from artists, to managers, to promoters, to booking agents, to venues, to radio stations, multinational corporations and beyond. These resources at hand have helped propel the initiatives of this organization for well over a decade, and Health Care is its next major undertaking.
HeadCount.org has set up a hotline where anyone can call to get more information about the necessary steps needed to ensure coverage without penalty. It’s best to try to avoid any surprises if you can with this, as the penalty could be substantial depending on your annual income.
PHONE: (919) 264-0418
HOURS OF OPERATION: 24 hours!
This resource is a valuable one because you may not know what regulations are in place that might affect your unique situation as an artist, manager, promoter, etc. Getting the answers that you need is as easy as calling this free hotline, where callers will be directed to other organizations called “Navigators” who are trained by the government to assist in making sure that your health care requirements are met.
The government has implemented this useful program for your sake, and it’s HeadCount’s mission to inform people and put them in touch with these resources.
Of course, for anyone who still suffers from healthcare.gov-phobia, sorting out your health care needs over the phone will help you avoid this step.
If this isn’t enough to motivate you to face your healthcare situation head-on, consider the alternative. Independent musician Christina Horn of Hudson K can attest to the value of having the security of health insurance:
"I’ve never had a 'real' job that offered any kind of health insurance” Horn admits. "From the day I was kicked off my parents’ insurance I had to learn to navigate the confusion of our health care system. I didn’t really take it seriously because I was young and healthy. I thought I was invincible. I was happy to pay $200-$300 a month for a plan that I knew little about, with the hope that if something serious happened, I would be covered. I got very lucky. In 2009, I was diagnosed with an invasive stage 3 melanoma. I was still in my twenties. My plan covered the office visits and surgeries…"
After her diagnosis, her insurance premium skyrocketed, and the deductible for the health savings account that she signed up for rose to a level that she could not afford. After visiting the healthcare.gov website and answering a few questions, she realized that she qualified for a subsidy that substantially increased her ability to live and not be swallowed up by costs for a plan that she may or may not ever use. 20 minutes ended up saving her hundreds of dollars.
The answers are available to you, and it’s up to you to utilize the services in place to find the plan that’s right for you. The HeadCount hotline is free and operates 24/7, so make sure that you do yourself a favor by getting your questions answered and getting the coverage that makes sense.
Find out more at HeadCount.org