SAG and Motion Picture & TV Fund Collaborate To Assist California Actors Who Lose Health Coverage

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Financial Relief Provided to Members Meeting Eligibility Requirements

(Woodland Hills, CA) -- In an unprecedented effort to address the growing problem of uninsured entertainment industry members, the Screen Actors Guild Foundation (SAG Foundation) and the Motion Picture & Television Fund (MPTF) have developed a program that provides temporary emergency financial assistance to California SAG members who experience a loss of health insurance coverage.

Assisted by a grant provided by the SAG Foundation, MPTF will provide insurance counseling, referrals, and partial premium subsidies to eligible California SAG members who lose their health insurance coverage. Program participation will be determined through an eligibility process that pertains to California SAG members who have modest or unavailable resources – less than $15,000 in cash assets, and who have earned at least $7,500 each year, for three out of the last six years. Once eligibility is established and an application is approved, aid will be disbursed within three days. 

MPTF, which offers health care, children’s daycare, charitable and social services and residential and retirement services to the industry, has administered insurance premium support programs in the past. According to MPTF President and CEO David Tillman, M.D., health care insurance coverage has been shown to be one of the top concerns for industry members. “We have conducted industry surveys that consistently reflect a deep concern about health care, health coverage and ‘falling out of eligibility’. We salute the Screen Actors Guild Foundation for taking a leadership role, and working with MPTF to deliver this vital Health Insurance Premium Support Program to California SAG members.” 

Tillman went on to note that the concept of ‘taking care of our own’ began with a group including Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks and others when they began the Motion Picture Relief Fund – now MPTF – more than 82 years ago. They believed in helping their colleagues who were down on their luck. “It’s fitting that the SAG Foundation has stepped forward to renew that commitment to caring, working hand-in-hand with MPTF,” he said.

Mitchell Ryan, President of the SAG Foundation, notes that the entertainment field is characterized by fluctuating work and job opportunities. “It is not unusual for our members to find that meeting life’s basic necessities can be difficult under such changeable circumstances. The SAG Foundation constantly seeks ways to help, and this partnership with the Motion Picture & Television Fund provides a wonderful mechanism for us to help ensure the welfare of our SAG family.”

The grant program will be initiated in January, 2003. Those interested in learning more about the program or eligibility should call (818) 876-1265 for more information.
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