Performing Arts Unions
Most arts unions (AGMA, Actor's Equity, IATSE, etc.) provide group health insurance options. Contact your union for details.
AGMA (the union for cabaret & opera singers and ballet dancers) also has a program where part of the money your AGMA employer puts in to the union for you gets put aside in a Medical Benefits fund. Periodically, AGMA will send you notice of how much you have in the fund, and you can use this money toward doctors' bills or insurance premiums.
Working Today & The Freelancers' Union
Working Today (a.k.a. The Freelancers' Union) is a unique organization dedicated to helping self-employed or temporary workers. With your membership ($10/year dues), you are eligible to participate in their group insurance. Its a good deal if youre covering a family, but still a bit expensive for a single person. They also have free legal advice and many other nifty services. You can reach Working Today by calling (212) 366-6066.
The Actor's Fund of America - Advice & Resources
Artists' Health Insurance Resource Center (AHIRC) offers advice and resources to get started in finding your own health insurance.
Some agencies provide health insurance for their longer-term temps. Most require a full-time equivalent (40 hours a week for 50 weeks each year - this varies from agency to agency), but some don't. Ask your agency if they offer insurance, and what the requirements are. If your agency doesnt offer it, consider changing agencies! Theres a million of em out there!
If you cant afford health insurance, or you dont get it through your union or employer, consider opening a Savings Account especially for Medical Expenses. This type of account has significant tax benefits. Ask your bank for more details.