IBMA to offer health insurance to members

IBMAThe International Bluegrass Music Association has announced a partnership with Sound Healthcare and the National Business Associations to offer affordable heath care options to its professional members. Both group and individual policies will be available, tailored especially for musicians and those who work as 1099 contractors in the music business.

Dan Hays, Executive Director of the IBMA is delighted to see this program in place, something that association members have sought for some time. It is based on ones that have recently been put in place for other similar organizations.

“I wish we could take credit for putting the program together, but thanks go primarily to our colleagues at the Country Music Association who spearheaded the original effort in conjunction with the National Business Association and some significant involvement of Vanderbilt University.”

In fact, most of the work in getting such a program started was done by R.J. Stillwell, director of Sound Healthcare. His company is a general insurance agency and advocacy group specializing in musician’s concerns in this area. He has made it his mission in recent years to help devise and develop health insurance solutions for music professionals.

Stillwell tells us that he started as a musician himself, and has a life-long love for bluegrass music in particular. He has a pedigree as well; he is the nephew of Jake Tulloch, bass player, singer and comedian with Flatt & Scruggs. After coming off the road, Stillwell went into artist management and music publishing, and began working in insurance as well.

He worked for a year on the CMA insurance program, which launched in September of 2007. This same program has since been adopted for use by members of the Gospel Music Association, and now the IBMA.

Individual policies will require normal underwriting, but lower prices are promised based on the national umbrella of a non-profit organization.

Stillwell will speak on Wednesday, October 1 at the showcase luncheon during the IBMA World of Bluegrass event, and he and other Sound Healthcare representatives will be available in the exhibit hall later that day and on Thursday (10/2) to discuss policy options with members.

“This has been the most gratifying experience of my professional life, merging my passion for music and musicians with my work in the insurance field.”

Some further details are available online.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.