Looking for health insurance? The Chamber can help

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Chamber BlueOptions, exclusive health insurance options for Maine small businesses

In January 2007, the Maine State Chamber Purchasing Alliance began offering a suite of health insurance plans to Maine’s small business community. The program began with five coverage plans in the suite of options and has grown to 12 plans starting in 2013. Known as “Chamber BlueOptions,” this program is offered to small businesses with two to 50 employees, as well as self-employed individuals, exclusively to members of a local or regional chamber of commerce.

This program provides meaningful benefits to members of local and regional chambers statewide who would otherwise not have access to these exclusive offerings. Each year the offerings are carefully considered to ensure the plans are responding to the needs of the market.

Starting in January 2013 the Maine State Chamber Purchasing Alliance will offer 12 plans. Included are six preferred provider organization plans with different deductibles and co-insurance levels, two HMOs, and four health savings account plans.

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Typically, a small business owner will offer employees one — or at the most two — options and at least 75 percent of eligible employees must participate to qualify for group coverage. Chamber BlueOptions offers up to 12 plan options for each employee to choose from with only 60 percent of eligible employees being required for group coverage. In addition, the program offers employers with 15 to 50 employees an opportunity to qualify for a 3-percent discount on annual premiums if they undertake certain wellness activities.

This program is a collaborative effort between the Maine State Chamber Purchasing Alliance, Inc., local and regional chambers in Maine, Anthem and their authorized producers or agents statewide. In the last year, this collaborative worked hard to restructure the enrollment process and now completing its sixth year, MSCPA’s enrollment is more impressive and encouraging than ever. With nearly 500 businesses currently enrolled in the plan,

covers more than 4,000 individuals. Most interesting is the number of enrolled businesses that were previously uninsured at more than 30 percent. To learn more, go to www.mainechamber.org and click on ‘Blue Options’ or you may call the Franklin County Chamber at 778-4215 or email marc@franklincountymaine.org.

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