Expanding Health Care Coverage

Project Title

Expanding Health Care Enrollment for New York Artists and Arts Groups

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Expanding Health Care Coverage

Date Awarded

November 15, 2007








Many U.S. artists’ annual earnings fall in the gap between low and middle incomes, making them ineligible for public health programs and unable to afford coverage in the individual market. This can prove to be detrimental, as artists are often exposed to above average health and safety risks (e.g., dancers experience knee injuries from poor flooring and painters work in enclosed spaces with dangerous fumes). Fractured Atlas, a major provider of health care for artists in New York State, attempted to increase enrollment in its health insurance offerings through expanded health insurance outreach to five organizational partners in locales throughout New York State. During the period of the award, Fractured Atlas offered health insurance to artists living in New York through HIP and Perfect Health. At the beginning of the grant period, approximately 1,500 artists were insured through Fractured Atlas.

Fractured Atlas plans to launch an outreach program aimed at expanding coverage among underserved arts communities in Buffalo, Peekskill, Saratoga, Brooklyn, and Queens.

Approximately 51% of artists pay for their own health insurance, compared with 8% of other workers. Annual earnings among this group often fall in the gap between low- and middle-incomes, making them ineligible for public programs, yet unable to afford coverage on the individual market. Partnering with local arts councils in its five target areas, Fractured Atlas will make available insurance products to an estimated 12,000 artists. A series of community educational events will allow artists to learn about current insurance options, access enrollment materials, and receive one-on-one guidance. Educational materials will also be posted in community locations where artists gather, including galleries, theaters, and rehearsal spaces. Fractured Atlas also plans to work with its partners to conduct an online survey (modeled after one it successfully completed in Washington, D.C.) aimed at capturing information about the arts community’s health care needs and preferences.