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Author: Subject: Gov't Mule Starts Health Insurance For Band Members And Crew- Wall Street Journal Article

Zen Peach





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  posted on 3/27/2008 at 12:43 PM
quote:
http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2008/03/26/rock-and-roll-may-never-die-bu t-sometimes-it-gets-sick/?mod=WSJBlog

March 26, 2008, 12:26 pm

Rock and Roll May Never Die, but Sometimes It Gets Sick


Small businesses are leading the national retreat from employer-based health coverage.

More than half of the 6 million Americans who lost health insurance between 2000 and 2006 worked at small companies or were self-employed, a recent Health Affairs online article reported.

So the Health Blog was intrigued to learn that Gov’t Mule, the Southern Rock jam band and small business if there ever was one, recently started providing health insurance to nine musicians and crew members.

How come? Employee retention, as the folks in corporate HR sometimes put it.

“We found that magic combination of people that have been with us for a while, and we want them to stay,” says Stefani Scamardo, who manages the band and also DJs on Sirius satellite radio. “We had an entire band and crew that have no health insurance, and that was troubling.”

Big-name musicians like Gov’t Mule guitarist Warren Haynes – who also plays for the Allman Brothers and ranked No. 23 on Rolling Stone’s list of the hundred all-time greatest guitar players — can get health insurance through their union. Even then, the coverage can be costly or available only to those who pile up enough music sales each year, a dicey proposition in an unpredictable business. Crew members, who typically get paid only during tours, often have fewer options.

Gov’t Mule’s plan is from Oxford Health Plans, a unit of UnitedHealth. The band pays all the premiums, which came to $61,507 last year, Scamardo tells the Health Blog. “You don’t budget for it — you just make the decision to do it and deal with it,” she says. “It’s something that relieves a lot of stress in our organization; we all feel a lot better and sleep a lot better at night.”

Next up on Scamardo’s benefits playlist: a retirement plan.

Gov’t Mule Video Bonus: If you’re not familiar with the band, check out the video of their performance of “Thorazine Shuffle,” a Health Blog favorite.




 

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Extreme Peach



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  posted on 3/27/2008 at 01:49 PM
WOW! That is great. I had a conversation with Warren about this very idea several years ago. I think it was like 99. We talked about what a pain it is for him when he gets sick. This is really interesting and great news.
 

Universal Peach



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  posted on 3/27/2008 at 02:33 PM
OUTSTANDING! Steff & Warren, major props....

 

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Zen Peach



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  posted on 3/27/2008 at 02:57 PM
Interesting article and props to Warren and Stef for making health a priority for their bandmates and crew. Look at the plight of some of the older musicial and theatrical artists over the years who have ended up living in close to poverty conditions with zero or subprime health care. Props to these two for taking care of their peoples!

 

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Ultimate Peach



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  posted on 3/27/2008 at 03:00 PM
I never understood why bands don't do this for their 'employees'. They are a business and businesses have responsibilities to their employees. It's good to see GM setting an example.

 

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Peach Master



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  posted on 3/27/2008 at 03:17 PM
That's HUGE. Good for Warren and Steph.

Warren is 100% class.

Not too bad at guitar either!

 

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Maximum Peach



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  posted on 3/27/2008 at 05:41 PM
Great for warren!! we need socialized medicine in this country! or most of us are in deep sh!t.
 
 


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