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February 20, 2004


Health Fund Eligibility Changes Did Not Affect Equity Members Outside of NYC More Significantly Than NYC Residents, Study Shows

Have the new Health Fund eligibility requirements affect Equity members living outside of New York any differently? An analysis by the Segal Company, financial advisors to the Equity-League Trust Funds, shows that recent eligibility changes did not affect Equity members living outside of New York more significantly than members living in the New York area. The study was done at the request of the Equity Trustees of the Equity-League Pension and Health Trust Funds to determine whether the changes showed any “regional differences” in their impact, according to Equity Executive Director Alan Eisenberg, who serves as a Trustee.

The survey of all actors who earned at least 10 work weeks between August 1, 2002 and July 31, 2003 indicates that approximately the same proportion of non NY area actors and NY actors would be adversely effected by the rule changes. This study, for demonstrative purposes, was performed as if the eligibility rule was applied assuming everyone had an October 1, 2003 eligibility anniversary date. On this basis, 11% of NY area actors worked 10 or 11 weeks and would have been ineligible for benefits when the workweek minimum went from 10 to 12. Outside of the NY area that number was 12%. 35% of New York area actors working at least 10 weeks and 36% of those living elsewhere would have been eligible for 6, not 12 months of coverage. And 54% of actors working at least 10 weeks living in the NY area and 52% of other actors would have received a full year of eligibility.

Because the study was done on a one-time snapshot basis while the actual eligibility rules are applied on an ongoing quarterly basis the percentages of actors who are actually covered may vary from these results. “The results do indicate that employment patterns in the NY area, on average, are similar to the non-NY areas and that the impact of the eligibility rule changes should not hit harder outside of the NY area,” concluded the report.

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