After several years of work, the National Educational Telecommunications Association announced Feb. 23 that it is offering group health-insurance coverage plans to pubcasters.
So far, 70 TV and radio licensees representing nearly 2,900 individuals are participating in the initiative. NETA is partnering with the Coca-Cola Bottlers Association to provide the coverage through that company’s Alliance of Professional Service Organizations (APSO) subsidiary. APSO currently serves nearly 300 employers, including the majority of the soft-drink bottlers and more than 200 other organizations, covering nearly 25,000 individuals.
The partnership marks “the beginning of significant savings and improved insurance coverage opportunities for those who participate,” NETA President Skip Hinton said.
The financial benefit to pubcasting stations and related organizations “will be immediate and substantial,” Hinton said. In addition to cost savings, participants gain access to comprehensive coverage; wellness and care management; information and consultation on health-care reform, contribution strategies and coverage questions; and streamlined administration of eligibility, billing, enrollment, and reduced stop-loss premiums.
Anita Sims, NETA v.p. for finance and business development, led the project, which is the association’s largest initiative to date “and one that will benefit many stations right now,” she said. “Looking ahead, I foresee exponential savings in a budget line that is a great concern to public broadcasters everywhere.”