As a member of the Pomme de Terre Chamber, you probably have a small business. We have yet to meet a small business owner that does not have the rising costs of goods and services among their chief concerns. Specifically, the rising costs of health insurance for employees. As you may have guessed, their concerns are not unfounded, as health insurance costs rose 15-20% last year alone. To combat this ongoing problem, the Missouri Chamber Federation has partnered with Anthem BlueCross BlueShield and created a health insurance program designed to make group insurance more affordable and accessible. This program is exclusive to members of the Chamber of Commerce in Missouri.
A little history…
About five or six years ago, the Missouri Chamber Federation polled their members asking what their concerns or needs were as small business owners that the chamber could address, and the overwhelming response was centered on affordable health insurance for their employees. The Chamber Federation got to work partnering with Anthem BCBS to create an association plan, which pools together chamber members from across Missouri, and in doing so, they created a way for businesses (with as few as 2 people) to have the opportunity to purchase quality group health coverage.
Before the creation of the Chamber Benefit Plan, the only option many small businesses had in Missouri was a plan through the Affordable Care Act, which ironically, was not very affordable at all – especially with double-digit premium increases every year. The Chamber Plan has grown in popularity, specifically as a vehicle to attract and retain good employees, and there are now over 40k members on the plan. Our agency has found it to be immensely popular in rural areas where small, family businesses tend to thrive.
How to get plugged into this program:
The first thing you can do is contact the Pomme de Terre Chamber of Commerce, and if you are not a member, you’ll need to join. The Chamber staff can give you more information on the program or put you in touch with one of their insurance partners who can assist you. You can also visit MOmewa.com for details. (Editor's note: Please watch this brief video from Croley Insurance for an overview.)
The next step would be what I call “kicking the tires” to find out initial rates. This is a very simple process of completing a short census form with gender and dates-of-birth of employees so you can get quick, “ballpark” rates for your group. Lastly, if you choose to move forward with the process, you can compare the costs and plan options so you can have a plan tailored to your coverage needs and budget. The insurance brokers that partner with the chamber provide this information-gathering and quoting process at no cost to you. It is also important to note that you can you get more than just health insurance from this chamber insurance program. It offers several non-medical benefits such as dental, vision, life insurance, and short-term disability.
What if you have a family business with only the husband/wife or father/son as “employees”?
That scenario can work on this plan! In fact, it has potential to be an ideal fit for most businesses. The plan is specifically designed for groups with 2-50 full-time employees, which tends to work well for very small, family-owned businesses. The rates are competitive and medically underwritten by Anthem BCBS and include a nationwide network of hospitals. There are up to 18 different plan designs, including Health Savings Account plans, so you have a wide variety of options depending on your budget.
Our firm has found that your local chamber can be an immense asset when it comes to advocating and assisting small businesses. One of the best ways it does that is providing programs like the Chamber Benefit Plan. The cost-savings alone can not only save you money, but allow you to offer group coverage to potential employees as you look to attract skilled workers and grow in the years to come.
Kelli Stanton, Marketing Director
Croley Insurance and Financial