NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


September 12, 2005

A bartering program allows artists and performers to volunteer at a Brooklyn hospital in exchange for health care there. The program's aims are to divert and comfort patients while reaching out to artists and performers, who often lack health insurance because of their freelance status and fluctuating incomes, says Associated Press writer Elizabeth LeSure.

Though performing artists' unions offer health insurance plans for their members, most require a minimum annual income that not all can meet. Visual artists must contend with the financial ups and downs that come with selling their work sporadically.

The exchange is just one aspect of the hospital's effort to promote a plan that provides care on a sliding scale to working people who don't have health insurance but make too much money to be eligible for Medicaid or other government programs.

  • Artists who sign up for the plan can pay out of pocket based on their income or offer their services.
  • For every hour an artist volunteers, the hospital puts 40 credits -- the equivalent of $40 -- into a health care account to be used for medical expenses.

About 150 people have signed up for the plan through a special hot line set up for artists and performers, and roughly 40 have expressed interest in the exchange part of the program, says LeSure.

Source: Elizabeth LeSure, "NYC artists trade talents for health care," Tuscaloosa News, September 7, 2005.

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