Austin musicians get health care with HAAM, Central Health partnership

Health Alliance for Austin Musicians will be able to provide health care for 500 more local musicians next year as part of an expansion of its program with Central Health.

Central Health — Travis County’s hospital district, which is responsible for providing care to local people who can’t afford health care — will spend an additional $1 million on its program with the musicians health alliance, known as HAAM, to provide the services.

The artists will be enrolled in the IdealCare insurance plan from Sendero Health Plans, which is Central Health’s health insurance program and offers plans on the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplace.

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Austin musician James Bookert has been able to receive health care through Central Health and Health Alliance for Austin Musicians. "I doubt I would have been able to get my life back on track without this support" after a seizure in 2020, he says, "I'm beyond grateful."

Central Health is funded by a property tax rate of 9.864 cents per $100 valuation for 2023.

Through its partnership with HAAM, Central Health subsidizes the premiums of HAAM members at an average cost of $221 per month per client. Central Health has a $305 million budget for 2023 and plans to spends $137 million on health care services.

The enrollment period ends on Jan. 15, but some HAAM members who earn less than 150% of the federal poverty level might be able to enroll after that date.