New possible health care benefit rule roils theater world

The U.S. labor union that represents more than 51,000 theater actors and stage managers is blasting a proposal that would raise eligibility requirements for members to receive health care

“We all understand that there is no escaping the devastating loss of months of employer contributions nationwide, and no alternative aside from making adjustments to the plan. But I believe that the fund had both the obligation and the financial reserves to take the time to make better choices,” said Kate Shindle, president of Actors’ Equity Association.

Many actors and stage managers have been unable to qualify for the necessary weeks of work for eligibility since theaters went dark in March. Equity represents actors and stage managers across the nation.

In a statement, the fund said: “The past six months have been among the most difficult any of us has ever faced. We recognize the emotional and financial burdens you are facing.” It added: “After looking at many different approaches, the Trustees have developed a solution that balances meaningful coverage with the long-term sustainability of the fund.”

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Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits

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