As musicians we know that one of the key reasons artists stop working as artists is because they get to a time in their life where they admit to themselves that they need health insurance. Because they think they can’t afford it themselves, or because they have a pre-existing condition that makes them uninsurable, many a talented songwriter has been dragged off the stage and into the cubicle of a corporation that offers group benefits to employees.
There are, however, some artists that keep one foot on the road and one foot in retail. As part of the HINT project, we are collecting information about companies that offer what we consider to be laudable health insurance services for their employees as well as the flexibility to give musicians the time they need to record, perform and tour.
Starbucks offers health insurance coverage to its “baristas” and other employees if they work as few as 20 hours per week. In a September 15, 2005 article, Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz stated that Starbucks spent more than $200 million to provide health insurance to its 100,000 employees – more than it spends on coffee itself.
Grocer Whole Foods offers health insurance to its fulltime workers after completing 400 hours of work, as well as an $1,800 allowance for personal wellness, dental and vision.
Costco, the members-only discount retailer, not only offers a decent plan to its employees (unlike its larger competitors Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club), it also offers small business insurance to its “Executive” members in Washington, Nevada, California, Oregon, Hawaii. In August 2005, Costco began offering individual health insurance policies via a pilot program launched in California. It targets mom-and-pop business owners, and those without a job or without job-provided health insurance.
What other companies offer artists the flexibility to continue with their work as well as heath benefits? Let us know hint [at] futureofmusic [dot] org