The IGDA Starts Healthcare Program

16 November 2009

The IGDA has long served game developers as a source of professional growth and industry advocacy. We are probably best known for providing a framework for networking and knowledge sharing through local chapter events and industry events like the IGDA Leadership Forum. However, as a professional association, it’s also incumbent upon us to support the community in direct, practical ways too, especially as we all work through this economic downturn.

One of the biggest challenges facing independent and consulting developers particularly in the US is the skyrocketing cost of health insurance. Large corporations have the benefit of collective bargaining to help lower rates for employees, and so we are applying the same principles to deliver to you the benefits of group insurance, solely on the basis of your IGDA membership.

Largely through the tireless and cheerful efforts of our dynamic new Executive Director Joshua Caulfield, we are incredibly proud to announce the IGDA Healthcare Program. The IGDA HP grants you access to the IGDA group account with Association Health Programs, a national US brokerage that negotiates and presents the best available insurance offerings from leading health insurance companies. Starting in January 2010, you will be able to connect directly with an account executive who will generate a set of group-negotiated healthcare options, for you to choose from. As January gets closer we will work to have more details and specifics about this program. In the meantime here is a starter FAQ we can share with you:

Who can join the IGDA HP?

Any IGDA Member in good standing is eligible for the IGDA HP. Regular membership dues are $48 per year, and hardship membership dues are $25 per year.

Is the IGDA going to be my health insurance carrier?

Not directly. The IGDA is working with Association Health Programs, a broker for many different insurance carriers across the US. By being an IGDA member you will gain access to group rate plans provided by national “A” rated carriers. Your health insurance will be through one of those carriers, and the IGDA HP should give you access to a lower rate than you would have if you were to obtain health insurance on your own.

What will my health insurance cost?

Since this will vary for each case, there isn’t an answer to that question yet. It will depend on a wide variety of factors and you will have to wait until the plan is running before you can see what the final cost is to you. You will have access to a group rate, so your cost should be lower than what you could obtain individually.

Will I be excluded for pre-existing conditions?

As with any group health insurance policy you should not be excluded for pre-existing conditions.

I am an International member, when can I get health insurance?

This plan is currently available for US members only. Most of our non-US members live in countries with nationalized health care systems so there is less need, or value in making this available to members in those countries. Following a successful launch of the program in the US, we would be interested in looking into this for other countries. If you would like to help with that process please let us know.

Will dues increase as a result of the IGDA HP?

No, the membership rate will remain the same. The IGDA HP is an optional benefit that US members can choose to take advantage of. Members will be fully responsible for paying their own health insurance premiums. The IGDA HP simply gives all members access to group rate plans.

If you have any other questions please let us know or post them in the comments below and we’ll try to respond to them or get answers as we can.

Finally, we thank you for your patience with us, while we’ve worked through some unexpected organizational issues.  However, our main focus has been, and will continue to be, on empowering and improving the professional advancement of you, the game developer.   We expect that the IGDA HP will be an effective example of this core goal, and we look forward to sharing a toast when we see you at the next IGDA event.

To your health,

IGDA Board of Directors