Shannen Doherty, best known for her role as Brenda Walsh in the beloved 90s series "Beverly Hills 90210," has been publicly fighting breast cancer for several years. In her latest struggle, the actress has faced a setback with the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) refusing to cover her medical expenses.
SAG-AFTRA Denies Coverage
Doherty took to Instagram to address the president of SAG-AFTRA, actress Fran Drescher, about the union's decision not to cover her medical bills. The reason for the denial of coverage is that Doherty did not earn the minimum annual income of $26,470, which is required for the right to health insurance.
In her post, the actress wrote, "Health insurance shouldn’t be based on annual income. It’s a lifetime contribution. And for me and many others, we have paid a lifetime of dues to only be canceled because we don’t meet your current criteria.
Support from Fans and Colleagues
Doherty received an outpouring of support from fans and colleagues, including Busy Philipps, Candace Cameron Bure, Leslie Bibb, and Debbie Gibson. In a 2021 interview with Variety, Doherty expressed her concerns about the SAG-AFTRA health care plan.
She stated, "It is something that I worry about, of course, like: ‘Oh, my God, I’ve got to make sure I earn a certain amount of money every single year to get insurance.’ Whereas if you just looked at my 40 years of paying dues, and the pension and all of that the producers pay in on behalf of me, you would think that that would cover my insurance for the rest of my life.
And it should." Doherty's fight for proper health insurance coverage highlights a larger issue within the entertainment industry. The actress, along with her supporters, is calling for a change in the current criteria for health insurance eligibility within SAG-AFTRA.
With a lifetime of contributions to the union, the actress believes that her health insurance should not be dependent on her annual income.