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Survey Report
You Said It: Today's Health Insurance
'Horrendous' … And Other Comments
By John Florian
©2008 VoiceOverXtra LLC
Financial pain and worry is evident in comments from voice actors about their health insurance situations, received as part of an April 2008 industry survey by VoiceOverXtra.
“I would welcome any information that would sort out the mess that is the health insurance conundrum,” says a voice actor.
Indeed, for some, the need is critical. Slightly more than 18% of the survey respondents do not have any form of health insurance. And even among those currently covered, there is worry.
These comments from voice actors tell some of the stories behind the numbers. (Also see the full survey report.)
“Health insurance is just ridiculous these days and is only getting worse.
“My husband's company has now put them on the HSA (health savings account) program. Sure, you have insurance. But we pay out huge every month and then they only cover well checks!
“So far, not a single prescription has been covered, and it all goes towards the deductible.
“We are a hard-working family paying heavily for an insurance policy that is basically for something major. It hurts! We are not the only ones in this situation, either, as most can't even afford what we have!
“I wouldn't want standardized health care, but surely there must be a company out there that can provide better and more affordable coverage!”
“I have a pre-existing condition, so have a $5,000 per year deductable, and I pay $400 a month premium. Yet we only have major medical on my son and husband, for which we pay $300 a month premiums. But this does not include dental.

”All of our money goes to mortgage and insurance.”
“Due to the limited union contracts, I have not qualified for AFTRA health insurance for many years now, and have switched several times - always trying to find the balance of cost for services provided.
“It is NOT easy. There is nothing similar about plans. It takes days and days to gather information. Weeks to figure out what the differences are. Weeks to fill out the damn paperwork to apply. Weeks to wait for them to get back to you about stupid things that are not relevant anymore.
“It is really a horrendous system.”
"When my union insurance ran out, I got coverage under the umbrella group Media Alliance, in San Francisco. But then the insurance company decided that Media Alliance no longer qualified as a 'group.'
“I had to go to private Kaiser for insurance. I have pre-existing conditions - high cholesterol and minor allergies - and they will take me as member, but will not cover medications. You don't get to be 60 without some kind of medical history.
“My monthly premium will go to $500 on my birthday this month and my meds cost about $350 a month. I am living to pay my health insurance!
"Another birthday and the cost of my health insurance will match my mortgage payment. I have no answers except try to survive to 65 and pray Medicare will still be in place. What a way to live!*$#?”
“Aside from an extreme health emergency, the cost of monthly health insurance premiums far exceeds the benefit of having the 'privilege' to pay 20% of the medical bills.
“From personal experience, I know that by NOT having health insurance I am in a position where I can negotiate a reasonable fee with my doctors for health care, outside of regular office visits.
“For example, several years ago I had major surgery, which WITH insurance would have cost me at least 20% of a $24,000 bill ON TOP of all the monthly premiums I would have paid - probably for several years up to that date and beyond.
“The total cost WITHOUT insurance came in at considerably less than the cost of accrued premiums and the 20% of the bill.
“For me, having health insurance simply doesn't make sense."
  • "I wish it was more affordable." 
  • “I am disabled, which is why I'm on Medicare. Prior to this, I was paying $600 per month. This did not include a dental plan. Hopefully, there is a way to help voice actors have more affordable health insurance.
  • “I don’t have what I used to have, and don’t like paying for what seems like nothing.”
  • “Need info on specialty insurance for voice/throat.”
  • “Even for AFTRA and SAG members, what used to be free coverage now is not. We are getting a break, but health care costs are strangling all of us.”
  • “Health insurance is far too expensive and coverages have been limited. Also, when I did carry insurance it was not widely accepted by my local doctors.”
  • “Do your homework! I just had a stressful experience with my soon-to-be former insurance provider, and I would spare you that inconvenience.”
  • “Actively shopping.”
  • “Our daughter recently aged out of my wife's family plan, and we will have to find something that includes her. I’m unsure about my wife's future employment and may have to establish some insurance plan of my own.”
  • “Since I am presently working for a company that provides health insurance, I am covered at this time. However, as my career grows in voice-over, the provision of healthcare in this industry would be extremely important to me.”
  • “If it weren't for my husband's coverage, this would be a huge concern. Plus, you never know what the future holds, and we may be looking for affordable healthcare one day.”
  • “My husband and I are both self-employed. We carry a high deductible plan, which costs $190/month from Golden Rule. However, if we needed more coverage, or weren’t able to cover the deductible, it would be wonderful to have something with a lower deductible with good coverage – even an HMO that’s affordable.”
  • “I'm lucky 'cause of my day-job, but without it, I'd answer this survey a lot differently.”
  • “I live in Hawaii for six months each year but will be full-time in the near future and will need full coverage insurance.”
  • “I had a heart attack about three years ago and am concerned that it would be considered a pre-existing condition and not be covered if I need medical attention for my heart again.”
  • “Although I am not in need of health insurance, I do hope that the needs of voice actors who do not can be met.”
In future reports, VoiceOverXtra will share suggestions of survey respondents for easing the worry and financial burden of health insurance in the U.S. The reports will also point out additional health insurance options.

Subscribe to free VoiceOverXtra newsletters to ensure receiving these reports.
And for questions about this survey, or to offer additional comments and suggestions, please contact; 203-459-8834.

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