As the Cinco De Mayo cleanup winds down and the city sweeps away the piles of vomit and cheap plastic novelty sombreros from the streets, the annual panic to get enough hours to keep the health insurance ensues.
As I’ve mentioned before, we have to work a certain number of hours per semester to keep our health insurance. For years, this was 300. Recently, in an effort to force as many people as possible off the insurance, the producers upped that to 400.
800 hours a year doesn’t sound like that much, until you remember that most of us don’t work full-time – we bounce around, and even when we’re full-time on a show, we don’t work the whole year.
So it’s not as easy as it seems.
I have to call tomorrow and find out for sure, but I think I’m about 30 hours short – which doesn’t seem like much except that I have to get them by the end of June and there’s currently not very much work.
It used to be that when TV ended, the low-budget movies would start up, and although no one really liked working for the tier 1 wages (the less they pay you, the worse they treat you), it filled out our bank accounts and qualifying hours nicely.
Now, there’s nothing. Other states, deciding they want some of the magic movie money, are handing taxpayer dollars over to studios in the form of subsidies (or, as we like to call them, bribes) to re-locate the productions to their states.
I’m certainly not begrudging anyone else any work, mind you. We all need to make a living.
I just miss the days when it was easy to get and I didn’t spend so much time worrying about if I’m going to keep my insurance.
Actually, scratch that. I know I’m going to lose it. It’s just a question of how long I can hang on.