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AUSTIN (KXAN) — A partnership between Central Health and the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM) will expand its enrollment levels in an effort to offer health coverage to an additional 500 local artists. The Central Health Board of Managers approved the measure Wednesday, to the tune of approximately $1 million.

Enrolled artists will receive health services through Sendero Health Plans. Central Health subsidizes HAAM members’ premiums at an average monthly cost of about $221 per client, the release added. Those subsidized premiums are via IdealCare, Sendero’s health insurance plan available in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace.

While the ACA’s annual enrollment period remains open through Jan. 15, the release said HAAM members earning less than 150% of the Federal Poverty Level might be able to enroll after the deadline, depending on funding levels.

“Central Health’s partnership with HAAM is vital to the health of our community,” Mike Geeslin, Central Health’s president and CEO, said in the release. “We are thankful that HAAM has a system in place to connect with low-income musicians and help them enroll in health insurance. Looking forward, our partnership with HAAM will serve as the model for establishing similar programs.”

HAAM aims to offer affordable healthcare access for Austin area musicians with lower income levels. Since many Austin musicians are self-employed, they often don’t have access to health insurance or basic healthcare.

A musician’s life expectancy can be approximately 25 years shorter than the general population due to disproportionate health outcomes and financial barriers to healthcare, the release added.

“HAAM and Central Health are dedicated to reversing the trend of decreasing life-expectancy for musicians and improving health outcomes for musicians and their families,” HAAM CEO Paul Scott said in the release.

Since HAAM began in 2005, the organization has assisted approximately 6,500 musicians across a seven-county area in receiving more than $123 million in healthcare services. These services include routine dental work, doctor visits, prescriptions, psychiatric counseling sessions, eye exams and more.



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