Part of growing as a dancer and seeing if you can build a career out of it is being able to take care of the other aspects in life. Can a career in dance pay for my standard of living–rent, food, transportation, and health insurance? I recently purchased my own health insurance plan and it was insanely stressful. Even with a master’s degree in public health and understanding the terminology, I still found the process stupidly complicated. I wish we health professionals spent more time thinking of how to make this process more accessible and less painful for everyone.

So I’m starting this re-thinking with the dance community. Before you give me all the reasons why you don’t need insurance, read this list first:

  • Hell week
  • Cement floors
  • Fast food runs
  • Dehydration
  • Hell week
  • Falling asleep behind the wheel
  • Workouts/diets to maintain that dancer body
  • Stress
  • Hell week

Have I made my point? If you’re still not convinced, let’s talk. Tell me your list.

There are 2 questions you have to ask yourself to find the best option and plan for you.

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First Question:

Calculate your income based on what you file in your tax forms. Some dance gigs may be under the table, so even though you technically made more than $15,654.10 last year, the eligibility criteria is based on what you file in the taxes. The starting point for both these options are the same, at the healthcare “marketplace”.

Now you know your options, but how do you pick a plan?

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Second Question:

It helps to consider how often you go to the doctors office a year, because all these plans come with at least one annual visit to your doctor to get a check-up. For the ladies, your annual visit to the OBGYN is also free.

So if you only see the doctor for annual visits, then go with a plan that has the lowest monthly fee–Catastrophic. If you’re accident-prone (like me) and have an OK income then choose something with a higher monthly fee with a lower co-insurance–Bronze or Silver.

Definitions:

  • Monthly fee: The amount you pay each month for your insurance.
  • Deductible: The amount you have to pay out of pocket for seeing the doctors.
  • Co-insurance: The amount you have to pay after you’ve maxed out on your deductible. For example, say your deductible is $2,000 and your co-insurance is 10%. Let’s say you had a procedure done that came out to $2,000 in medical bills. You will pay the full $2,000 (maxing out your deductible). A couple weeks later, you need another surgery performed. You’ll pay 10% of that medical bill, and your insurance will pay the rest. For most people, it comes down to finances. Here’s a worksheet to help you compare the costs:

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(Monthly fee * 12) = Minimum amount you’ll spend for the year

(Monthly fee * 12) + Deductible = Amount you’ll spend if something happens, and before your insurance starts pitching in on the bills.

These plans vary by state, so the most accurate information will be from your state’s healthcare website. By all means, do your own research because even professionals in this industry don’t know all the answers. But now you have a starting point and a friend in this space who will help you navigate any questions/frustrations you have.

Note: There’s no deadline for enrolling in Medicaid. The deadline for purchasing insurance (everything else besides Medicaid) has passed, but you can still enroll if you had a recent life-changing event. Like… moving, getting married, losing your fulltime job (and thus your insurance), or getting pregnant. If this happens, apply for health insurance within 60 days of these events. You can also enroll if you have to pay a tax penalty for not being insured last year. The deadline for this is April 30th, 2015. Talk to your accountant to see if you have to pay a penalty.

 

Vivian Peng
Main Stacks alumnus

Please stay safe, STEEZY Nation! If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out or leave a comment below!