Bringing Cast & Crew Open Health to the Market

Delivering Cast & Crew Open Health to the entertainment industry involved adherence to focused goals, the seamless coordination of a top-notch team and the discipline not to launch the important new offering until all the important industry issues were addressed.

The goals were clear, namely to:

  • Create an industry-wide solution that provides health insurance for all non-union employees
  • Provide employers with an insurance offering for which they could sign up, offload a good portion of the administrative responsibilities and get back to production

“The ACA presents very specific challenges to our industry, given its transient workforce,” said Eric Belcher, President and Chief Executive Officer. “To ensure we clearly understood employer concerns and objectives before rushing to market with a quick-fix product or one that doesn’t work, we talked with numerous studios and production companies over the past several months so we could develop a comprehensive solution.”

The effort was worthwhile. Cast & Crew Open Health is the first – and only – entertainment industry-wide, multiple-employer healthcare coverage designed for all non-union employees. The Plan, which is eligible for most state tax-incentive programs, is portable for the employer irrespective of payroll-service provider. It also is portable for employees who become covered under the Plan.

“Employers told us they want a simple solution so they can focus on their productions – not the ACA,” Belcher said. “Cast & Crew Open Health does that. They also told us they want it to address the very specific employee challenges we have as an industry.”

The Plan structure, developed with leading insurance brokers, attorneys and other insurance and human resources experts, provides employers with large-group pricing and benefits that are superior to market-based coverage that can be obtained elsewhere. The Plan’s fee structure is based on a percentage of gross wages, a structure familiar to the industry

Cast & Crew Open Health simplifies budgeting and significantly lessens employers’ administrative burdens,” added Shardell Cavaliere, Senior Vice President, Client Relations at Cast & Crew Entertainment Services and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Plan. “It removes the need to track employee hiring status and terminations, and because it is billed as a fringe there is no need to allocate premiums down to productions. Cast & Crew Open Health provides the entertainment industry with a one-of-a-kind solution not available elsewhere.”

The Plan complies with ERISA, the ACA and other applicable law and is funded through a trust established for the exclusive benefit of the participants. The trust will hold all the insurance contracts and be a conduit for payment of premiums.

Coverage is provided through Anthem Blue Cross and includes HMO/PPO options as well as optional dental, vision and life. Enrolled individuals will have access to the largest national network in the country, with more than 900,000 providers. Anthem members, moreover, have access to more than 90 percent of hospitals and 90 percent of physicians nationwide – more than any other insurer. Cast & Crew Open Health and Anthem Blue Cross provide employer and employee support through various communication methods, including email, a 24×7 phone center and online assistance.

The Plan is part of the company’s Cast & Crew Complete benefits-management suite. Another component is Cast & Crew ACA SureTrack, which is a comprehensive online ACA management system.