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Freelancers' Best Hope for Affordable Insurance?

In mid April, the heads of several NWU locals released an ad hoc report that chronicles the health insurance crisis, from the union's collection of $300,000 in insurance commissions last year to the state investigations of Employers Mutual to Tasini's delay in warning members about the company, at a time when he was running for re-election. The report concludes that the national leadership was "at best, negligent, and at worst, actively participating in the defrauding of union members."

Peterson called the allegation that the union participated in the fraud "outrageous."

The official committee set up by Tasini to investigate the crisis has yet to release its first report, while the union continues to seek a new health insurance carrier. Peterson says several potential carriers have either rejected the union or been rejected, and there is "one good prospect" left. Williamson says a broker is looking for a replacement carrier for libel insurance.

The Voice is unaware of another group that sells libel insurance to freelancers at group rates. But those who need health insurance might consider the New York-based Editorial Freelancers Association. Its rates are rising, but unlike the NWU, the group takes no commission on the policies it sells—and seems to have drawn no complaints.

ccotts@villagevoice.com

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