St. Charles Chamber Introduces Benefit Plans for Members

St Charles Chamber Insurance ProgramYesterday, the St. Charles Chamber of Commerce introduced a new program for its members.  The Chamber will be providing access to medical, dental, life and disability plans for member organizations.  The Chamber will be collecting censuses from its member companies in order to create one large group that will be able to leverage its size to get rates for dental, life and disability (both long-term and short-term) insurance.  The Chamber will also provide access to medical insurance through an ‘underwriting day’.  For health insurance, each member will be underwritten separately as  there is no way to pool all of the member groups together for health insurance (due to Illinois law, as discussed at the rollout meeting). The underwriting day could provide better rates through sheer volume of cases being presented at one time.  If you are a chamber member and would like to participate in the program, please read the FAQ section and complete a census for us.  Contact me to get a census template.  Please complete it and return it to me by Sept. 6. 

Eventually, the Chamber would like to work toward a health care cooperative for its members.  While Illinois does have a law on the books that allows for small employer groups to form a purchasing cooperative for insurance (which, unfortunately, the insurers will not sell to), there is no law in Illinois that allows for private employers to form a self-funding cooperative.  That will change in 2013 with the rollout of Community Oriented and Operated Plans.  The CO-OPs are not traditional cooperatives, but have been created by the Affordable Care Act (health care reform) to provide an alternative for private business.  As more details become available about CO-OPs, we will update you.

For those that are interested, Wisconsin does allow the formation of health care cooperatives.  I encourage you to take a look at the Alliance, which is a large cooperative located in southwest Wisconsin.  They could definitely serve as a model for employers here in Illinois.

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