Most musicians live in their head; we hear music even when we aren’t playing music. When playing we learn to live in the moment. Musicians are very happy living in our dreams of what will be and the often dreamy moments of what is.
It’s less exciting for many musicians to discuss the realities of life like medical insurance. For many it’s just not something we think of when we are young because swept up in the music and the adventure of life we don’t believe anything can hurt us. By the time we are older there have been road blocks like “pre-existing conditions” preventing someone from getting insurance, age is a factor and of course money.
With the health care reforms that President Obama has initiated about to take place, medical insurance for everyone in the country is a talked about and a possible reality. WWOZ radio and Coventry Health Care recently began a series of open forums designed to educate New Orleans musicians and artists on how they can register for health insurance when registration begins with the Exchange.
The first forum was held on September 7 at d.b.a. on Frenchmen Street. One of the first topics of discussion was how to find out if you qualify for federal subsidies that will help pay for your insurance. Everyone must have health care in 2014 or pay a penalty to the U.S. government. The penalty for the first year is only $95.00 but goes up significantly in the next year and again in 2016.
The forum lasted an hour and was extremely informative in a way that was easily digested, even by someone like me who can happily live in dreams over the reality of money and health care reform. How plans are categorized, coverage and benefits, taxes and fees, subsidies were all discussed with information on each subject.
Some of the preventative services that may be available to you if you enroll in the Exchange are: cancer screenings such as mammograms and colonoscopies, vaccinations such as flu, mumps and measles, blood pressure screening, cholesterol screening, tobacco cessation counseling and interventions, birth control, depression screening. More information is available at www.healthcarere.gov/prevention.
There were some warnings, like the fact that the ACA expands health care to millions of Americans which means that both the system and doctor’s offices will become increasingly crowded so signing up sooner rather than later is suggested. The forums will be held every Saturday this month and information is available at wwoz.org about the topics discussed at the forum.
It is something we will all be dealing with and the information is available for free every Saturday this month.
Check it out, for health’s sake.