Executive Director’s Letter
February 12, 2013
A great source of ongoing concern, not to mention anxiety, is the inability of individual artists and cultural organizations to access affordable health care. At last week’s Brown Bag, GBCA welcomed Suzanne Schlattman, Deputy Director for Development and Community Outreach at Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative to discuss the current state of affairs and how we should prepare for the changes due in October 2013 as the Affordable Care Act goes into effect. The good news is that the State of Maryland is ahead of the curve on implementation in comparison to other states. However artists and cultural organizations operating on tight budgets still face uncertainties and seek more information about how they will be affected and, most importantly, how they can meet their healthcare needs and those of their employees.
For an overview of the Affordable Care Act and to start getting your heads around the language being used, take a look at this short video produced by the Kaiser Family Foundation, “Health Reform Hits Main Street.” With Suzanne’s permission, you can also take a look at the slides from her presentation here. The slides include links to resources for more information. For example, if you are a small organization (with 25 or fewer employees) wondering how you can manage to offer healthcare benefits, Suzanne can direct you to information about the availability of tax credits that may make coverage more affordable. To get started, here’s a link to the small business tax credit calculator: www.smallbusinesstaxcredits.com. If you are an artist earning $1,000 or less per month, she strongly suggests that you explore enrolling in PACT now so that you will be eligible to roll into Medicare in January 2014. You are welcome to contact Suzanne directly with any additional questions: firstname.lastname@example.org.
GBCA plans to continue looking at this issue and will hold a second convening, as we get closer to the fall implementation date. In the meantime, I encourage you to learn more about the important work of Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative.
Have a healthy week,
P.S. Don’t forget to mark your calendar for Maryland Arts Day in Annapolis on Wednesday, February 20. Plan to come out to represent our community and check with Maryland Citizens for the Arts for all the details.