PLEASE TAKE IMMEDIATE NOTICE
To All Plan B Participants
The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) prohibits the continued existence of standalone health reimbursement plans like AGMA Health Plan B. The Plan’s Union Trustees, Employer Trustees and the Plan’s lawyers have spent the past year trying to find a way in which to let members continue to use the money currently in their Plan B accounts.
The Trustees and the Trust’s lawyers have determined that the only way in which to comply with the law and to allow maximum use of the funds in their Plan B accounts by the largest number of participants was to ‘freeze’ the accounts going forward effective September 1, 2014.
Plan B will thus be amended so that accounts with contributions received by August 31, 2014 will be segregated and no further amounts will be credited to such accounts. Such “frozen” accounts will not be thereafter increased based on contributions received after September 1, 2014 or any interest crediting. Such accounts will continue to be subject to the current administrative rules. (Forfeited amounts will continue to be allocated to Plan A and B expenses based on the current rules).
Participants may continue to receive reimbursement from their frozen accounts based on the traditional rules, EXCEPT that no one may be reimbursed for premiums for individual health insurance policies or for copays incurred under such individual policies. In other words, claims incurred before or after September 1, 2014 are eligible for reimbursement from frozen accounts subject to the above restriction on individual insurance policies as well as the applicable Plan rules (including the deadline for claims submission).
Going forward, AGMA intends to amend all of its contracts so that there will be no further contributions to Plan B. Instead, contributions that previously were directed to Plan B under current contracts will now be directed into individual retirement accounts in your name in the AGMA Retirement Plan.
Obviously, we recognize that this change will disadvantage some current Plan B participants. Please keep in mind that the Affordable Care Act prevents the continuation of current Plan B rules and necessitated these changes, and that all other possible changes would have disadvantaged far more members far more seriously. Also, despite the similarity of names, the AGMA Health Plan is not AGMA and the AGMA Trustees on the Plan had no choice but to comply with the law.
Please note: Different rules affect employers that offer both Plan A & Plan B (or allow the direction of Plan A contributions to Plan B), and members at those companies can contact their local Area representative or the National Office with questions for guidance, although the only definitive answers regarding the rules of the Plan can come from Derek Davis, AGMA Health Fund Executive Director, at (212) 765-3664.
To find your current Plan B balance, sign in at www.asonet.com, or call Administrative Services Only toll-free at (866) 263-1185 for help.
Affordable Live/Work Space for Artists in Harlem
There is a very exciting new affordable housing opportunity for artists in Manhattan. El Barrio’s Artspace PS 109 (http://www.artspace.org/our-places/el-barrio-s-artspace-ps109) is currently completing construction of 90 live/work units and 10,000 square feet of arts and cultural space in a historic, converted school house in East Harlem. The units will be rented by lottery and applications can be submitted online through the New York City Housing Connect website: www.nyc.gov/housingconnect.
This website requires you to set up a profile. Applications are available now and must be postmarked or submitted online no later than July 14, 2014. Income eligibility guidelines and further instructions can be found at
Applicants who are artists and live in New York City will receive a general preference for apartments. The developer, Artspace (http://www.artspace.org/), employs a broad definition of “artist,” which includes many creative pursuits, including all aspects of the performing arts and entertainment. To qualify as an artist, applicants need not derive their income from their art. Keep in mind that The Actors Fund is not directly involved in the ownership, management, or tenant selection process for PS 109. We are simply working to make this information available to the performing arts and entertainment community.
STAGE DIRECTORS AND CHOREOGRAPHERS
The Pennsylvania State University seeks emerging professional directors for its unique,
three-year, financially supported, MFA Directing for the Musical Theatre Stage program, headed by Susan H. Schulman.
The deadline for initial applications for the fall of 2015 is October 6, 2014.
Penn State provides complete financial support for each graduate student. Assistantships include full tuition waiver and a yearly cash stipend (approximately $13,650, including summer; years 2-3 approximately $13,050). Graduate students will assist in Theatre 100 and various other studios. During the summer following the first year in residence, all graduate students in theatre spend a five week session studying in London. Additional international travel opportunities are available.
This unique Master of Fine Arts degree program combines traditional director training with the special tools needed for directing in the professional musical theatre. Integrated into the School’s other MFA programs and it's nationally recognized Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre, the applicant will train with acting, dance, voice, and design faculty. The degree candidate will direct a minimum of five projects including a fully mounted thesis production. The program includes several onsite interactions with directors and designers during pre-production and tech in New York City. Students will also intern with a master director on a professional Musical Theatre production. Included in the program is attendance at several Broadway shows per season.
For more information, go to http://theatre.psu.edu/programs/theatre-mfa-directing.
And don’t forget to apply to SDCF’s Observership Program by May 30 to be eligible
Visit sdcfoundation.org for information, program guidelines and application.
for 25 paid opportunities shadowing master directors and choreographers!
ATTENTION ARTISTS WITH FUTURE CONTRACTS
AT SAN DIEGO OPERA:
As you know, San Diego Opera has announced that it's going out of business at the end of the season. If you have a contract for future work at San Diego Opera, please e-mail a copy of that contract to AGMANY@aol.com or fax it to 212 262 9088.
Attention New York City Opera singers:
New York City Opera has filed for bankruptcy protection. AGMA is preparing a claim on behalf of AGMA artists who have contracts to perform in any production scheduled for the 2013-2014 season. In order to file an accurate claim please send a copy of your contract to Candace Itow by email (email@example.com), fax (212-262-9088) or regular mail to the national office as soon as possible. It does not matter whether NYCO returned a fully executed copy to you, since use of your name in publicity indicates that there is a pursuable commitment. In addition please include contact information that you would like us to use to contact you.
PLEASE SEND IN YOUR CONTRACTS AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.