The American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) has unveiled the A2IM Artist Pro Program, a novel initiative that provides its members access to group health insurance and more for a yearly membership of $99. An online marketplace, known as the A2IM Benefits Store, allows members to acquire dental, vision, personal property insurance, housing insurance, legal assistance, pet insurance, and more. As reported by Billboard, around 30 of A2IM’s 600-plus indie-label members opted for the organization’s group insurance plans when they were introduced in September 2022. The A2IM Artist Pro Program now extends these benefits to individual members, independent of their employer. An A2IM spokesperson claims these packages are “marginally more cost-effective” than the plans provided through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), informally referred to as “Obamacare”.
Musicians under record label contracts are often not considered employees – who would receive the company’s benefits – but are viewed as independent contractors sharing in the revenue generated from their recordings based on their contract agreements. Those who have signed deals with one of the major label groups (Universal, Sony, Warner) automatically qualify for insurance benefits via SAG-AFTRA, a labor union covering roughly 5,000 singers as well as TV and film performers. The American Federation of Musicians (AFM) provides coverage to nearly 70,000 instrumentalists and also extends insurance plans to its members. In 2021, the Recording Academy declared a partnership with Stride Health to establish an online platform that assists its members in navigating the healthcare marketplaces regulated by the ACA.
Numerous musicians lacking insurance have had to resort to fundraising to manage unexpected medical expenses. In 2011, DJ Premier disclosed on his Sirius XM radio show that DJ Kool Herc – the DJ celebrated this year for throwing the party in the Bronx 50 years ago, widely recognized as the inception of hip-hop – was facing severe financial difficulties following health issues. In 2010, it came to light that Alex Chilton from Big Star had refrained from seeking medical help before his death due to a lack of health insurance.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Health Insurance for Musicians
What is the A2IM Artist Pro Program?
The A2IM Artist Pro Program is an initiative by the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) that offers group health insurance and other benefits to its members for an annual membership fee of $99.
What services can be purchased from the A2IM Benefits Store?
Through the A2IM Benefits Store, members can access various services including dental, vision, personal property insurance, housing insurance, legal assistance, pet insurance, and more.
How does the cost of the A2IM Artist Pro Program compare to Obamacare?
An A2IM representative has claimed that the plans offered through the Artist Pro Program have slightly more favorable pricing than those provided through the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
What other insurance options are available to musicians?
Musicians signed to deals with one of the major label groups such as Universal, Sony, and Warner, are eligible for insurance benefits through SAG-AFTRA, a labor union. The American Federation of Musicians (AFM) also offers insurance plans to its members. In 2021, the Recording Academy partnered with Stride Health to create an online platform that helps musicians navigate the healthcare marketplaces governed by the ACA.
Why is health insurance a concern for many musicians?
Many musicians are classified as independent contractors rather than employees, which often means they don’t have access to company health benefits. This, combined with the high costs of healthcare, has led to numerous uninsured musicians resorting to fundraising to cover unforeseen medical expenses.