Tag Archives: health insurance

Attention all freelancers seeking HEALTH CARE

Important message from the Freelancer’s Guild. This is BIG! -mia

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ATTENTION ALL FREELANCERS SEEKING HEALTH CARE

In the upcoming months, the Guild’s Freelancer unit will be negotiating a contract with a major health care provider that will offer rates far lower than what you could get on the open market as an individual.

It is vital that before we sit down to negotiate, we obtain the largest possible membership through your sign-ups because that membership size in turn will affect the amount of the annual rate unit that members pay.

So now is the time for any of you who are freelancing and facing the prospect of no benefits, expensive benefits or loss of benefits to join the unit so we have the largest possible group and thereby win the least costly and best possible health care plan for you.

Maybe you have health coverage for a few more months — if you were laid off by The Chronicle — or maybe you still are covered by your parents’ policy if you are a journalism student who is about to graduate. But if that coverage is due to end anytime soon, you are exactly the people who should be joining the freelance unit now so we can get a great health policy for you.

Along with the upcoming health plan, here are some of the benefits provided by the freelance unit for the fee of $144 a year:

College scholarships of $3,000 each for the 2010-2011 school year for members and their family members. Winners, selected in a lottery drawing, also will receive second-year scholarships of the same amount contingent upon satisfactory academic accomplishment. Part-time scholarships are also available. $500 for families that open a new 529 college savings plan. Juried press pass eligibility.

Free Lynda.com membership for two weeks — long enough to learn some new programs or skills.

Membership in the Bay Media Federal Credit Union, which features low- cost loans, high-yield savings, and safe, secured deposits, competitive rates on IRA/Health Savings Accounts and (HSA)/Education Savings Accounts.

Union Plus, which offers mortgage assistance, discounts on legal counsel, tax services, car rentals, prescription drugs, electronics, and more, a low-cost credit card — and a 10 percent discount on AT&T service — great for those who use iPhones!

Free admission to monthly seminars on topics of value to freelancers, from filing taxes to pitching a non-fiction book to driving up traffic to your Web-based work.

You will become part of a group that advocates for better conditions for freelancers, promotes high standards in an age where journalism quality is deteriorating and allows members help one another deal with the hurdles of self-employment.

Please consider joining today. Log onto guildfreelancers.org and click on “Join Us.” Questions? Call Rebecca at 510-472-3024.

In solidarity, Rebecca Rosen Lum, Unit Chair Susan Sward, member, Guild Freelancers

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Health benefits from the Freelancer Media Workers Guild

An important message from the Freelance Media Workers Guild. -mia

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I hear frequently from people whose top priority is medical coverage.

We are making excellent progress lining up dental and vision coverage for our members, and expect to have some other benefits lined up soon.

We are negotiating for a medical coverage plan that features maximum portability and affordability. To start getting bids, we need some very basic census data — from members of Guild Freelancers.

If you are interested in joining the health care pool, you MUST JOIN the freelance unit. We can ONLY amass the kinds of benefits and supports we seek with adequate numbers.

Joining the Freelance Media Workers discussion or announcements-only Google groups does NOT make you a member of Guild Freelancers.

We are not a support group, although we offer plenty of support. We are not a job service, although we provide comprehensive contacts for open journalism jobs. We are a labor union, and we seek to provide the same sturdy safety net that unions always have. By committing to the unit, you gain an unconditional commitment from the union to help secure solid, tangible supports and protections.

To join, log onto guildfreelancers.org right away and click on “Join Us.”

Membership fees are roughly equivalent to a double latte a week. You can pay by the year ($144), sign up for six months at a time ($72). Student fees are only $60 a year.

If you ARE a member, and you ARE interested in helping us secure the best health care bid possible, please shoot me a confidential email at rrosenlum@gmail.com that includes your zip code, gender and date of birth, and, if you wish, the number of dependents you might wish to add to your coverage.

Sincerely, Rebecca Rosen Lum Unit chair, Guild Freelancers rrosenlum@gmail.com

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self-employment disability insurance

There are only two things I miss about working in a regular office job (besides regular interaction with the rest of the working world, of course).

1) IT – Tech Support. I can’t even count the number of hours I’ve spent tearing my hair out over some computer problem that an IT department could fix in minutes. Or how many hours I’ve spent on the phone with obnoxious “help” desks that are horribly misnamed. My own personal IT department is number one on my freelance wish list.

2) HR. Granted, HR departments can be a big pain in the ass, but generally, they help you get paid, on time, and work out all those little details like taxes, benefits, vacation time, and personal/medical leave. I had a baby last May, and I just assumed that because I work for myself, I wasn’t entitled to any kind of maternity or other medical benefits, even though I pay hefty self-employment taxes. Turns out freelancers do qualify for maternity benefits under the Paid Family Leave program (part of State Disability). Only hitch is that you have to pay for related but separate California‚Äôs Disability Insurance Elective Coverage. (Essentially, you pay in a certain percentage based on what you make, and if you go on leave, you get back a certain percentage of what you would be making if you were working. The rates are pretty reasonable and the benefit certainly seems worth it.)

I have no idea how I was supposed to know this. It’s not like I could sit down and have a meeting with myself about the benefits available to me as a freelancer. I suppose when I became self-employed I should have done more research about what was available to me and what wasn’t. But mostly I was just trying to get PAID (and keep my equipment running.)

Now I know. And hopefully someone else can benefit from my lack of foresight.

http://www.edd.ca.gov/Disability/Self-Employed.htm

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thinking WAY ahead

PacificCare Foundation – I heard an underwriting message about these guys on KQED. They are a health care provider that gives grants to various organizations… not exactly useful at the moment but worth filing away.

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