By Chad Frey Newton Kansan
A group of more than 30 Kansas chambers of commerce have banded together, creating an association that will allow each to offer health insurance plans to members.
Among this group is the Andover Chamber of Commerce.
“This could very well be what many of our small healthcare businesses are looking for; those currently offering insurance to their employees or those looking to offer insurance as a benefit,” said Becky Wolfe, President and CEO of the Andover Area Chamber of Commerce.
Andover businesses that are members of the Andover Area Chamber of Commerce will have the option and access to another health insurance option from the end of the year through the Chamber Kansas blue.
A business must have at least two employees with W-2s and they must be members in good standing of the Andover Area Chamber of Commerce to qualify for the Large Group Health Plan. The plan will be a Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Kansas plan.
Wolfe said initial reports coming out of the Salina Chamber of Commerce showed interest in about 600 politicians, and then with the Kansas Chamber of Commerce’s executive network, that could likely push those numbers into the thousands, creating a big pool for any company choosing to participate.
“The bigger the pool, the more rates could drop,” says Wolfe. “There really is no such thing as ‘cheap’ health insurance, but Chamber Blue might be better at offering year-over-year stability.”
The Newton Area Chamber of Commerce will also be on board.
“I hope this really helps. I know so many people, their insurance was going up. You try to survive and find a way to keep paying those benefits. You have to keep people,” said Pam Stevens, director of the Newton Area Chamber of Commerce “Better benefits are the reason someone can go elsewhere.”
Stevens said there were “fairly large” rooms in the group and the size of the insurance coverage pool could be very strong.
“If we have a big pool, I imagine our rates will be good,” Stevens said.
Newton is holding information sessions ahead of a survey to be conducted in August. All 33 chambers participating in the insurance scheme will participate in the interest investigation process which will be essential in setting coverage rates.
All interested companies must complete the survey to qualify for the Chamber Blue program for this initial registration. Pricing will then be released in September and plans will come into effect in 2023.
“It doesn’t oblige you, but if you come later, you will have to be subscribed,” Stevens said.
An association health plan is a type of group medical insurance for organizations that allows small businesses to access the health insurance savings associated with large group medical coverage. Through this, small businesses, nonprofits, and organizations can come together to purchase insurance. This allows more people into the pool, which reduces risk across the pool and provides more health insurance options, potentially with much more competitive premiums.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of KS has the largest provider network in Kansas with 99% in-network physicians and 100% in-network hospitals.
For more information on the qualification criteria and more, interested parties are invited to visit https://www. bcbsks.com/chamberblueks.