Excellent news, Austin musicians: The Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM), a nonprofit support system that provides low-income artists with access to health and wellness services, is currently accepting new applicants.
HAAM, which serves 2,000 Austin-based artists, closed enrollment in December in order to better serve their current client base. Thanks to community support and fundraising efforts, they are now able to open it back up.
“We are excited to be accepting new members into HAAM,” says Carolyn Schwarz, executive director. “Austin's music scene is one of the trademarks of the city and the musicians generate significant economic activity for Austin. HAAM is proud to help keep the men and women behind the music healthy.”
“Austin's music scene is one of the trademarks of the city and the musicians generate significant economic activity for Austin. HAAM is proud to help keep the men and women behind the music healthy.”
The majority of musicians served by HAAM earn under $16,000 a year, which is well below their qualifying cutoff of 250% below the poverty line.
While HAAM isn't health insurance, they do provide medical payment assistance, plus custom events and programming to help raise awareness of certain health issues particularly relevant to musicians, like audiology and addiction counseling.
HAAM aims to help musicians receive the care they deserve without having to sideline their professional and creative efforts. For example, when local musician Deano Cote was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, he tells CultureMap: "HAAM was very instrumental in getting me the proper treatment and the best doctors. They has helped me deal with my health issues in a very affordable way, including free medicine that, without coverage, would cost me at least $500 a month. And, while I was battling Crohn's and colitis, I was also touring so I could continue my music career."
To apply for benefits, musicians need to call the HAAM office at 512-322-5177 to schedule an eligibility appointment. Visit the HAAM website, www.myhaam.org, to download an application and see a list of materials to bring.
For more information on HAAM’s comprehensive services, the organization has just released its Annual Report, which breaks down the care provided in 2011 by Seton Healthcare, St. David’s Foundation Dental Program, Capital Area Dental Foundation, The SIMS Foundation, Estes Audiology and Prevent Blindness Texas.