US Book Industry: Associations Form Health Insurance Coalition

In News by Porter Anderson

With the Book Industry Study Group as lead contact and research from the Independent Book Publishers Association, members of 11 US-based organizations now are part of a health care insurance program.

Image – iStockphoto: Chinnapong

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Booksellers, Authors, and Others Are Eligible
The Book Industry Health Insurance Partnership being announced this month brings together 11 organizations to offer their members insurance options.

Those organizations are:

  • American Booksellers Association
  • American Society for Indexing
  • Authors Guild
  • Book Industry Study Group
  • Graphic Artists Guild
  • Horror Writers Association
  • Independent Book Publishers Association
  • Novelists Inc.
  • Romance Writers of America
  • Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America
  • Western Writers of America Inc.

The partnership itself, launched on Tuesday (August 4), has been in development for two years.

IBPA’s Angela Bole in the Lead

It was established in April 2018 during a meeting of the Book Industry Study Group’s association advisory council—a group of associations that address various parts of the book business. At that 2018 meeting, Kent Watson—who then was the executive director of PubWest—proposed that the council evaluate the feasibility of providing healthcare coverage to BISG’s associations’ members.

Angela Bole

The council’s chair, Angela Bole—CEO of the Independent Book Publishers Association—took the lead, working at times with as many as 20 groups to sort out the complexities of forming a program that could work for as many organizations as possible.

Insurance options researched involved major medical programs compliant with the Affordable Care Act; Medicare and supplemental policies; short-term policies; vision, dental, and critical care policies; and small group programs or Health Reimbursement Arrangements.

A key goal was to be sure that all participating associations’ members could access the offerings, including association staffers and their immediate family members; individual members and their immediate family members; business owners and their W2 employees; 1099-employees and/or independent contractors; and association volunteers.

The program is a partnership with LIG Solutions, a division of Lighthouse Insurance Group. At the point of agreement, there were 10 organizations signed on, and the Romance Writers of America then joined, to make the current total 11. LIG works with various carriers in all 50 states.

As can be learned in an FAQ at the Independent Book Publishers Association site, the arrangement does not negotiate rates for insurance premiums. Participants are warned that lower prices aren’t the expectation here. LIG’s services, however, are free, with health care plans’ costing no more through the LIG participation than they would without.

The current program is considered a good step toward coverage, while the initial idea and potential eventuality is an “association health plan”—the original concept in 2018—in which an association sponsors a plan. That type of plan’s legal status is in question amid court tests at this point. The new LIG program is an alternative approach that allows service for associations’ members in various states.

The Book Industry Study Group is serving as the principal contact with LIG for the partnership.

More from Publishing Perspectives on the Book Industry Study Group is here, more on the Independent Book Publishers Association is here

And more from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here and at the CORONAVIRUS tab at the top of each page of our site.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.