Hello Local 257 Members! I hope this finds you doing well. Dave Pomeroy, President of Local 257 and RMA member here with some news on a very important and timely subject – health care.
I have been a member of Local 257 for 30 years, and as long as I have been here in Nashville, I have heard musicians talk about health care issues, and ask why Local 257 doesn’t have a health care plan. I don’t pretend to know all the answers, but I do know that New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles have health care plans for their members, and that Nashville does not. We get a $22.50 Health and Welfare payment on recording sessions, and that money is intended to go towards our health care. Outside of that, there is nothing offered to our members in this ever more critical area.
Some of you may have seen the cover story in the Tennessean awhile back about musicians’ struggle with finding and keeping Health Insurance. The “punch line” of the article was that the Country Music Association has developed a musician friendly health plan in partnership with Vanderbilt University and the National Business Association. The only mention of the Musician’s Union in the entire article was the simple comment that “The Nashville Musicians Union has not been able to offer a health plan for its members”. It really hit home for me to see this in print.
Personally, I was very impressed not only with the initiative that the CMA showed in developing this plan, but in the fact that it has been specifically intended to address many of the problem areas of insuring self employed songwriters and musicians. This is not a “one size fits all” policy; there are multiple plan options under an association umbrella, individually tailored and designed to fit your needs. RJ Stillwell, Executive Director of Sound Healthcare, has an obvious passion and enthusiasm for this work, and is a former musician himself. I can honestly say that this is the best health care program that I have seen in my time in Nashville.
This is why I am writing you today, on behalf of RMA Nashville, to let you know that after a few months of planning, we are proud to announce the RMA Sound Healthcare program, which is the exact same plan offered by the CMA. If you are already an RMA member, you are eligible to apply for this plan. If not, you can join us, or the CMA, and take advantage of this free opportunity to compare your existing plan with the variety of options offered by SoundHealthcare.
So, how can you take advantage of this opportunity? Here’s the good news - membership in RMA Nashville, which is only $75/year is the only requirement to get in on this plan. Even so, you do NOT need to join the RMA (or CMA) just to apply and get a comparison with your current plan with an analysis and a variety of options of what type of plan will work for you, with no obligation. If you like what you are offered, THEN you will need to join one of these organizations in order to qualify. That’s about as straightforward as it gets, and as a test case, RMA Nashville Vice President Mike Brignardello took a meeting with RJ Stillwell to see if he could improve on his current plan. Let me turn this over to Mike for a moment…
“I heard about the Sound Healthcare plan and I decided to check it out. I met with RJ Stillwell, the director of the program. He's offering group health insurance rates to RMA members. He had all kinds of health insurance products available, and I decided to stay with an HSA type policy that has worked well for me and my wife. He compared my present policy and was able to offer me a comparable policy for 10% less than I'm currently paying. My insurance rates have sky-rocketed over the last several years, so I'll take the 10%, thank you very much. I also felt I wasn't being "sold" anything by RJ. He knew his stuff, gave me the info I needed, and let me pick what suited me best. This is something we need to let our members know about.”
So there you have it. I have attached some information about the plan and contact information for RJ Stillwell. I believe this is an excellent opportunity for musicians to join together with RMA Nashville, the National Business Association, and the CMA to take advantage of the power of numbers, while supporting our creative community, too. As Union musicians, supporting the CMA is a good idea to begin with, and it only costs $50/yr. Of course, we would be proud to have you as an RMA member if you are not one already. Now that Sound Health Care and the National Business Association have stepped up for musicians, songwriters and music business professionals, perhaps this can have a positive impact on you and your family. Here's a link to the RMA Nashville Sound Health Care webpage. By the way, you should enter "RMA Nashville 2008" as your member ID on the application form.
President, AFM Local 257
President, AFM Local 257