Comedians and health insurance

by Brian McKim & Traci Skene on February 26th, 2012

The Male Half of the Staff is quoted in a Las Vegas Review-Journal column by Mike Weatherford entitled “No Joke: Comedians May Lack Health Coverage.” It also appears in the hard copy of the Sunday edition.

We’re talking about this because Saturday night, (John) Padon was to throw a benefit for Ron Shock, a veteran stand-up and longtime Las Vegan fighting an aggressive urethra cancer.

Shock is almost 70 and covered by basic Medicare. But co-pays on four hospital stays in six weeks already overwhelm Shock and his wife, Rhonda. In a stroke of bad timing, she quit her job a month before he got sick, and now is too busy helping him to go back.

Weatherford talks about Shock and about the American Comedy Fund, recently launched by Comedy Central and the Entertainment Industry Foundation to help comedians in just such a position as Shock. According to their stats, 31 per cent of comedians lack health insurance. As of two weeks ago, HQ is 100 per cent insured.

So until two weeks ago, “our health plan was ‘Eat right, exercise and don’t skateboard.’ ” However, “we finally nailed down health insurance with a company that does business in Nevada,” with a low premium for a high deductible.

“Comedians I don’t think are any more or any less responsible than regular folks,” McKim says. But they are self-employed, so “we really do get burned by the system. We pay both sides of the payroll tax.”

Read the whole column.