Now being a freelance artist I am now addressing my own need for health insurance. It is an incredible cost and sometimes seems a luxury expense to a healthy young individual. But of course it is not a luxury, as a dancer, when ones' body is the primary tool to the art being created.
As the healthcare reform bill goes before the senate here are a couple quick thoughts from Dance/USA.
Dance/USA Statement on Health Insurance Reform
Dance/USA supports health insurance reform that ensures the existence of accessible and affordable insurance for all individuals, including those self-employed and in non-employer groups, and organizations involved in the creation and presentation of dance in the United States. In addition, Dance/USA supports health care legislation that includes measures that provide incentives to nonprofit employers that are equivalent to those provided to for-profit employers.
Many individuals in the dance field are young and often self-employed. Many dance organizations operate on small budgets and may be unable to offer health insurance benefits to employees. According to research conducted by the National Endowment for the Arts (2003-2005 American Community Survey):
- Professional dancers and choreographers are the youngest group of artists with a median age of 26 and 80.8% under the age of 35.
- Only 25% of professional dancers and choreographers work full-time year-round; 22% are self-employed.
- In 2005, the median income was $20,000 for professional dancers and choreographers.
And, according to data collected by RAND Compare and the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ National Compensation Survey in 2007:
- Households with income of less than $25,000 (in 2007 dollars) are nearly three times as likely to be uninsured as are households with incomes of $75,000 or more.
- By age, the majority of the uninsured are under the age of 35.
- 24% of part-time private-industry workers have access to medical health care benefits.
In addition, according to studies done by Dance/USA between 2001 and 2006, a majority of dance artists hold an average of four part-time jobs, most of which do not carry health insurance. Some of the most common examples of part-time work include serving as a choreographer, performer, dance instructor, part-time dance administrator (often at different organizations) and/or part-time work outside the dance field.
Dance/USA has sought to share information on the health insurance reform proposals with our membership, and we encourage our members to take action in accordance with their own personal beliefs and values.