Almost five years after SAG and AFTRA merged into one union, the long-disputed health plans of the two guilds will finally become one on January 1, 2017, the union said this morning. Promised since the March 2012 merger of the two Hollywood unions, the expected melding of the plans will allow more than 65,000 SAG-AFTRA participants and their dependents to combine covered earnings from all of the guild’s contracts toward eligibility for coverage in a single plan.

“Our members deserve one outstanding health plan and this historic agreement ensures that all earnings under our contracts now credit to a single health plan,” said SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris in the announcement. “One of the biggest challenges many members faced was the inability to combine earnings from both SAG and AFTRA contracts to achieve eligibility. With one health plan we have eliminated that issue, making split earnings for performers a thing of the past. At the same time, we have positioned our health plan to be financially sustainable for all members for years to come.”

Like the current SAG plan and with similar premiums, the new health care plan will have a two-tier setting providing coverage for members. The earnings requirement for Plan 1 will be $33,000, while the requirement for Plan II will be $17,000. The medical and hospital provider will be Anthem Blue Cross with dental via Delta Dental. If you and your family are in Plan 1 you can get your glasses and other vision requirement through Vision Service Plan starting next year. The merged health care plan will offer mental health and substance abuse coverage in both silos.

“The new health plan is both comprehensive and forward-looking,” asserted union National Executive Director David White today. “Merging these plans was a complex undertaking and I am proud that the trustees worked together to arrive at solutions that strengthen the overall financial health of the plan while ensuring comprehensive benefits for all participants.”

Until January next year, members will receive their health care coverage under the respective SAG or AFTRA plan. Come next January, retiree health care benefits will be offered under the Plan 1 aspect of the merged service.

The union says it will be offering information sessions for members June 20 and July 11 in Los Angeles and June 23 and July 13 in New York. An online session is set for July 6.