The Plan

We Make Getting Health Insurance Easy

Personal Health Insurance Created Exclusively for the Artistic Community

Introducing a nationally available health insurance plan offered by a not-for-profit insurer that's affordable, offers guaranteed acceptance, and is easy to join.


Because if you need it and don't have it... it's too late! 

It’s Necessary

Especially if you don’t have an employer to pay for your benefits. And your provincial plan covers doctor visits, physician fees—it doesn’t cover many of the things that keep you or get you healthy.

For Your Health

People with health insurance tend to be more proactive in managing their health.


Be responsible. It may not be just about you—protect your family from financial hardships.

For Your Wealth

Having a health insurance plan is a manageable way to handle some of your health care costs. You don’t want to use your retirement/investment savings on medical expenses. Think of it as a down payment on your health.

And Premiums May Even Be Tax Deductible

If you’re self-employed your medical premiums (and expenses) could be written-off as a business expense.


We give you the coverage you need - minus the confusion

The Plan

There are 2 plan options to choose from. Standard or Comprehensive, both Plans come with:

Prescription Drug

Standard Comprehensive
All Years Year One Year Two Subsequent Years
Reimbursement Percentage for each Insured Person 70%* 70%* 70%* 70%*
Annual Maximum for each Insured Person $400 $1,000 $2,000 $3,000
AFBS Drug Formulary The AFBS prescription drug formulary will be used to settle all drug claims The AFBS prescription drug formulary will be used to settle all drug claims

*We cover ingredient costs only. Ingredient costs cover usual and customary costs. They do not include "dispensing fees".

For those Members who reside in Québec the requirements of the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ) will take precedence.

Extended Health Care (including Vision/Paramedical Care)

Standard Comprehensive
All Years Year One Year Two Subsequent Years
Reimbursement Percentage for each Insured Person 70% 70% 70% 70%
Annual Maximum for each Insured Person $5,000* $7,500* $7,500* $7,500*
Annual Maximum for each Insured Person for Vision/Paramedical Care $350 $500 $500 $750

*Maximum includes benefits paid for Vision/Paramedical Care

Dental Care

Standard Comprehensive
All Years Year One Year Two Subsequent Years
Reimbursement Percentage for each Insured Person 50% 60% 60% 60%
Annual Maximum for each Insured Person $800 $800 $1,250
Basic Services $400 combined all services $300 $300 $500
Major Services (crowns, bridges, dentures) including Periodontal (gum disease) and Endodontic (root canal) $500 $500 $750

Group Term Life and Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance

Access to coverage and the amount of coverage is based on your age as indicated in the table below.

Standard Comprehensive
Group Term Life AD&D Group Term Life AD&D
Age at Annual Renewal
16 - 64 $10,000 $10,000 $10,000 $20,000
65 - 69 $5,000 $5,000 $5,000 $10,000
70 - 75 $5,000 Not covered $5,000 Not covered
Travel Emergency Medical

If you have an accident or become ill outside your province of residence, your provincial health care program may not cover all your medical bills, even when travel is within Canada.

The Travel Emergency Medical benefit has been designed to cover many of the types of expenses that can occur when a medical emergency occurs while away from home.

  • 60 day maximum duration per trip for those under age 80*
  • 30 day maximum duration per trip for those age 80 but not yet 85**
  • Unlimited trips per benefit year – recreational or business
  • $1,000,000 Lifetime maximum

This benefit is made available through iA Financial Group who is the provider of this benefit. Additional details are available below.

*The policy is null and void if you schedule or extend a trip beyond a 60 day duration, regardless of whether the extended period is insured by other parties.

**The policy is null and void if you schedule or extend a trip beyond a 30 day duration, regardless of whether the extended period is insured by other parties.

Download Extended Information
Member and Family Assistance Program (MFAP)

The Member and Family Assistance Program (MFAP) benefit reflects a continuing commitment to the physical and emotional well-being of our membership. Through the Member and Family Assistance Program, offered by Morneau Shepell, confidential help is available to members and their families to assist with resolving the personal problems that can interfere with their lives and work, including:

Counselling Services, provided on a voluntary, confidential and short-term basis either in person, online or by telephone; and

Work/Life Services which can include telephone and/or text-based resources either online or printed material in a wide-ranging number of areas including:

  • Family Support Services;
  • Financial Support Services;
  • Legal Support Services;
  • Nutritional Support Services;
  • Naturopathic Services; and
  • Health Coaching.
Download Extended Information


Guaranteed Acceptance. We won’t ask you about your medical history.


You Are

...if you’re associated with a or meet the definition of an artist, and

...if you're under 71 years of age, and

...if you live in Canada at the time coverage becomes effective and you have a valid Provincial Health Card.

Your family can be covered too.

Participating Organizations

  • ACTRA Apprentice and Background Performers
  • Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists
  • Allied Arts Council
  • Artist Run Centres and Collectives of Ontario
  • Artists Advantage
  • Arts BC
  • Arts Council Windsor and Region
  • Arts Network Ottawa
  • ArtsLink NB
  • Associated Designers of Canada
  • Atlantic Filmmakers Cooperative
  • Bravo
  • Burnaby Arts Council
  • Canadian Actors' Equity Association
  • Canadian Association of Professional Image Creators
  • Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild
  • Canadian Country Music Association
  • Canadian Dance Assembly
  • Canadian Disc Jockey Association
  • Canadian Freelance Guild
  • Canadian Independent Recording Artists' Association
  • CARFAC Alberta
  • CARFAC Ontario
  • Cineworks
  • Collective Music Nation Association
  • Country Music Association of Ontario
  • Craft Council of Newfoundland & Labrador
  • Craft NB / Métiers d'art NB
  • Craft Ontario
  • Dance Saskatchewan
  • Eastern Edge Gallery
  • Elephant Artist Relief Society
  • Euro Productions
  • Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance
  • Independent Media Arts Alliance
  • Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto
  • Local 149 CFM & AFM
  • Media Arts Network of Ontario
  • Music | Musique NB
  • MusicNL
  • Music Publishers Canada
  • Nanaimo Arts Council
  • Newfoundland Independent Film Makers Co-Op Ltd
  • On Screen Manitoba
  • Orchestras Canada
  • Orillia and District Arts Council
  • Ottawa Arts Council
  • Richmond Arts Coalition
  • SAW Video
  • Screen Composers Guild of Canada
  • Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada
  • SummerWorks Performance Festival
  • The Bentway Conservancy
  • The Canadian Association of Stand-up Canadians
  • The Royal Canadian College of Organists
  • Theatre Direct
  • Theatre Ontario
  • Toronto Musicians’ Association
  • Union of BC Performers
  • Unison Benevolent Fund
  • Visual Artists Newfoundland & Labrador - VANL - CARFAC
  • Visual Arts Nova Scotia
  • Visual Researchers Society of Canada

Not on the list?

Maybe your organization belongs here.

Contact us for details.


Need accessible, affordable insurance?
We’ve got it.

What Does It All Cost?

Get your free quote!

Find out your total cost here:

Free Quote

Additional information about Premiums.

What do people have to say about the plan?

"The Arts & Entertainment health plan is a terrific option for artists, writers and creators who don't already have health benefits. For many, this package is more comprehensive than an individual health plan, and an affordable option for artists who are currently without coverage. It supplies a real need. I'd be joining it myself if I weren't over age!”

Margaret Atwood, Poet, Writer and Environmental Activist

“The health insurance plan from the Arts & Entertainment Plan® gives me more than my employer was offering...it also provides me with a card so I don't have to save receipts from the pharmacist or dentist and mail them in. It’s cost-effective and the premiums are tax deductible.”

Fred Langan, Financial Journalist

“I am grateful as a freelance author and single mother that we now have not only a health insurance provider, but one which is providing us with the best premium available to individuals, as well as prompt and courteous individualized responses from the office”

Anne Logan, Writer

Joining is Easy.

Apply online in minutes!

How Do You Enroll?


Just click the Enroll button below.

Contact the Arts & Entertainment Plan® administrator at AFBS if you have any questions about the Enrollment Form or the application process.

If you would like to take the process offline, you can access the Enrollment Forms here: Standard Plan or Comprehensive Plan Form.

Please note: AFBS does not sell or provide member information to outside organizations, and will never solicit your personal information or financial information by phone or email. For further information, please see Protecting Your Privacy.

For Artists.

We only insure those in the arts.


Artists Helping Artists

The Arts & Entertainment Plan® is offered by AFBS, a not-for-profit insurance provider owned by performers and writers. As an organization, we understand the unique needs of people who earn their living through their creativity and only insure those working in the artistic community. We’re committed to the continued development of a plan that works for the community.

How it all started

Canadian author, social activist and past chair of the Writers' Union of Canada (TWUC), Susan Swan found herself musing on the fact that access to an affordable health care safety net – something enjoyed by salaried workers in the private and public business sector – was denied to too many people in the creative and artistic world. The results of her conversations and considerations ultimately led to a dialogue with AFBS, about underwriting a benefits program for the writing community. AFBS launched The Writers’ Coalition Program in 2009 and the Arts & Entertainment Plan® followed in 2011. Both are the first Canadian health insurance plans specifically geared towards self-employed artists and writers.

Who is AFBS?

AFBS is a Member-owned, not-for-profit, federally incorporated insurance company that has been operating since 1975. Members of AFBS are primarily members of ACTRA and The Writers Guild of Canada. AFBS has proudly underwritten the Arts & Entertainment Plan® since November 1, 2011. AFBS is proud to expand its membership across Canada to include associate members from within the artistic community.


100% Canadian. We are a national plan, from coast to coast.



The Standard plan is available for new applicants age 70 and under and is renewable for those who have been insured prior to age 70.

The Comprehensive plan is available for new applicants age 64 and under and is renewable for those who have been insured prior to age 64.

No, if you would like to apply offline simply print an Enrollment form and mail, scan or fax it in with your payment (be sure to sign and date it).

No, your coverage will start the first of the following month in which you apply (and only after you've been approved and premium has been collected). During the online enrollment process, your effective date of coverage will be noted and you will receive information on next steps.

No. When a plan is chosen, each family member must be covered by the same plan.

No, your provincial health care plan provides in-hospital care and doctor’s fees which are not covered through the Arts & Entertainment Plan®. It is very important that you always keep your provincial health care benefits in place.

You would apply as a couple paying the lower rate.

As long as we know when your other benefits are terminating we’ll try to ensure that there is no lapse in coverage.  Your benefits under the Arts & Entertainment Plan ® will commence on the 1st of the month following receipt and approval.  We’ll need your completed application and premium payment in advance of your termination in order to avoid any lapse.  Depending on when your other insurance terminates you might have some duplication of coverage for a short while. Contact us to discuss your particular scenario.

Yes. This is a guaranteed acceptance plan – no medical questionnaires need to be filled out.

If we receive your application and payment on or before the last of the month (and it has been approved), your benefits will be effective the first (1st) day of the following month.

If you’re a member of a company that provides group benefits and you leave that company, you may be able to join the Comprehensive plan at Year 3 levels (Subsequent years). Call for more details.


You may upgrade/downgrade between plan options however, you must satisfy the 12 month period in which your original contract was issued. Also, if your move is an upgrade to the Comprehensive plan, you must satisfy the 2 year lock-in provision. This means once you make the move it is a 24 month commitment under your new plan option.

No, this is a group plan and increasing the duration or changing the benefits is not possible.


Many prescription drug and dental claims can be processed immediately at your pharmacy or dentist’s office. Be sure to provide your pharmacist and dental office with your group number and certificate number which can be found on your welcome letter included as part of your enrollment package. When claims are processed at your pharmacy you’ll find in many instances that you only pay your portion of the costs. And when dental claims can be processed electronically through your dental office your reimbursement will be on its way to you immediately. Make sure you have confirmation on whether your prescription or dental expense was adjudicated electronically.

Sometimes electronic adjudication is not possible and in these situations or when you are submitting an extended health care claim your expense receipt must be submitted to AFBS for reimbursement. Generally, once all of the pertinent information has been received at AFBS your claim will be adjudicated within 10 business days.

Once you submit a claim, whether it was handled electronically or by submission, you will receive an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) which details what was processed and the amount of any reimbursement. You will want to keep this document for income tax purposes or to coordinate benefits with another insurer. When you submit a claim and it is processed manually, in most cases the EOB will be accompanied with a cheque however, if there is no payment you will just receive the EOB.


You can pay monthly or annually by credit card online (we accept American Express, MasterCard and Visa) or by cheque with a paper application. For monthly withdrawals from your bank account, please include a void cheque with your application.

If you’re paying monthly via your credit card, the premium payment will occur on the 28th of each month. If you’re paying monthly from your bank account the payment will come out on the 15th of each month (you can’t change the day of the withdrawal).

Your initial premium rate is guaranteed for the one year, as long as you do not make any changes to your chosen coverage. Changes in age bands, determined based on your age at the annual renewal, will also result in changes to your premium costs. Further, the premium rates for the program are reviewed regularly and changes may be implemented at anytime. The premium costs at each renewal are further guaranteed for one year as long as there are no coverage changes.

Medical (Health and Dental) premiums may be tax deductible for individuals or businesses. Please consult your tax advisor for more information.


Refers to the 12 month period from the date your benefits commence. For example, if your benefits start November 1st your benefit year would be November 1st to October 31st.

Natural children, stepchildren, common law children or legally adopted children.

The applicant and his/her married or common-law spouse/partner or a single parent with one child who qualifies as a dependant.

Spouse/partner and/or unmarried children (as defined above), under age 18. Note: Children between 18-26 may be covered as a dependent if they are in school or are disabled or handicapped.

The applicant and his/her spouse or common-law spouse/partner and any children who qualify as a dependant or a single parent with 2 or more children who qualify as dependants.

Products that contain medical ingredients identical to the original brand name drug in dosage form, safety, strength, administration, quality, performance and intended use. Generic drugs may be produced and marketed after the brand name drug’s patent has expired.

Any treatment, service or supply which is generally accepted by the medical profession as essential, effective and appropriate in the care and treatment of a medical condition, sickness or injury.