I have a feeling artists and other self-employed creative folks know the pain of rising health care costs even more intimately than most, since they often work without the safety net that catches people working for larger employers.
But thanks to the efforts of area arts advocates and civic-minded health-care providers, help is on the way–and for a population of artists too seldom reached by these sorts of programs.
Thanks to a new initiative by Artist Relief Fund and Lake Superior Community Health Center (modeled on a very similar program in the Twin Cities area spearheaded by Springboard for the Arts), artists without health insurance who live in the Arrowhead region and in the Douglas and Bayfield counties of Wisconsin now have access to a fantastic program intended to offer critical health services at very low (and often no) cost.
Here are the basics:
Beginning March 25, 2009, individual artists may apply to the Artist Relief Fund for a voucher to be used at the Lake Superior Community Health Clinics located at 4325 Grand Avenue in Duluth or 3600 Tower Avenue in Superior.
“Health care is a major concern for the artists we serve. Many are self-employed and have little or no insurance,” says Erika Mock, President of the Artist Relief Fund board. “We are very excited to partner with the Lake Superior Community Health Center to provide artists with a new option for affordable healthcare. Helping artists connect to options for healthcare, especially preventative care is an important goal of the Artist Relief Fund. This program is a perfect start towards that goal, and we hope that the partnership will be able to grow to provide even more healthcare for area artists.”
Wende Nelson, Executive Director of the Lake Superior Community Health Center (LSCHC) adds, “At the LSCHC, we also believe that our country should provide affordable health care for its artists. For years our clinic has provided medical care on a sliding fee scale basis for working artists (full and part-time) who do not have health insurance, so we are very excited about this partnership with The Artist Relief Fund.”
God knows, every little bit helps.