HAAM Receives Additional $1 Million to Fund 500 Musicians’ Insurance
Apply for Central Health support before the Jan. 15 deadline
By Chad Swiatecki,
10:00AM, Tue. Jan. 10, 2023
Approximately 500 additional Austin musicians can receive free or low-cost health care coverage in 2023 thanks to Central Health’s decision to provide an extra $1 million to the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians.
The additional money comes on top of funding Central Health traditionally gives HAAM to help musicians enroll in insurance offered through Sendero Health Plans (which typically have no premiums or deductibles and a maximum out-of-pocket cost of $1,300).
HAAM leadership is urging local musicians to get in contact with the nonprofit to receive help signing up for coverage. Open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act runs through Jan. 15, though there are financial considerations that can create other opportunities to sign up for coverage later on. Musicians interested in enrolling can visit myhaam.org for more information.
The Central Health-funded plans are open to musicians earning up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level: $27,180 for a single enrollee, or $36,620 for a household of two. The new money was allocated from the health care delivery fund of Central Health, the Travis County agency that is charged with increasing health care access to vulnerable communities throughout the area. In a typical year, it funds health care plans for more than 6,000 musicians at a monthly per-person cost of about $220.
“We will walk musicians through the eligibility and enrollment process from start to finish, and we will make sure that everything that they're eligible for, they can take advantage of. We'll answer their questions. We've tried to simplify the process as much as possible,” said Rachel Blair, HAAM’s chief operating officer.
Every year HAAM offers crucial assistance navigating the healthcare system to thousands of Austin musicians. Local guitarist Chris Holston said the nonprofit has helped him stave off financial devastation while recovering from a hemorrhagic stroke that occurred in late 2020. Since then, he’s used coverage provided by HAAM to help him regain his speech and motor dexterity needed to play music.
"After my stroke, I knew that I was going to need a lot of help. I didn’t have any other options, but HAAM and Central Health were there for me in that moment, and helped me figure out my next move,” said Holston. “Their help has been instrumental to getting me back on my feet."