The Greater Topeka Partnership is joining Kansas Chamber of Commerce executives and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas to offer health insurance to local businesses through Kansas Chamber Blue.
Association health plans allow employers to work together to purchase insurance.
This will be the second year the health insurance program has offered savings associated with large group medical coverage.
Topeka Chamber of Commerce President Curtis Snedden told the Capital-Journal that Chamber Blue will be an important way for chamber members to provide benefits to their employees.
“Insurance depends on how many people are covered by your plan,” Snedden said. “The more people in your plan, then the more stable the rates will be, and perhaps, hopefully over time, the more competitive those rates will be.”
What are the benefits of Chamber Blue?
Chamber Blue benefits include a Blue Access account that allows employees to manage their plans throughout the day while understanding benefits, tracking health care costs, finding doctors and more, Sneden said.
Employees have access to an extensive Kansas provider network with the ability to choose from doctors and hospitals within the service area, according to GTP’s website. Chamber Blue offers special discounts for employees to facilitate access.
Additional benefits include Prime Therapeutics, life insurance (basic and voluntary), disability insurance, special benefits and dental coverage.
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With more businesses enrolled in the plan, Snedden said lower costs could result in more plan options.
The Topeka Chamber signed up last year, and more than 30 chambers of commerce in Kansas have partnered with BCBSKS.
“We’ve learned a lot,” Snedden said, “and we’re coming back to tell our small businesses that part of the benefits of being a part of a partnership or being part of a community is that they need to get there. Affordable health care for their employees is a great new benefit for them.”
What should small business owners do for Chamber Blue coverage?
Registration for the program will be November 1-15. Businesses interested in registering must complete an interest survey by August 18.
To make sure your business meets the Kansas Chamber of Commerce’s eligibility criteria, businesses must verify that they have two to 50 employees as a small business entity, according to the GTP website.
Membership is required to participate in the program, but it allows a business to be part of the movement to build a better and brighter future in Topeka, Snedden said.
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“You can collaborate with new clients and customers or connect with other potential businesses,” he said. “There are all kinds of educational and informational programs that the organization does throughout the year.”
In early July, Tammy Cortez, chief operating officer of Cortez Transportation, registered her business with the Chamber Blue program last year to provide health care coverage for her employees.
“We’ve recently expanded,” Cortez said, and Chamber Blue has proven to be a valuable tool to help with recruitment and retention. The coverage was competitive, and we hope more local businesses realize the power of this plan. We can work together to lower our rates and premiums even further.
Keshera is most recently a business reporter for the Topeka Capital-Journal. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @Lately_KT.