Connections is the newsletter of the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce. The CCC reserves the right to edit submitted materials and is solely responsible for editorial content. Please address press releases and letters to Lisa S. Cohen.
Publisher: Kelly Thompson Clark
Managing Editor & Ad Contact: Lisa S. Cohen
Published by the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce
859 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02139
Kelly Thompson Clark President & CEO
Daisy Bowler Director of Operations
Lisa S. Cohen Director of Communications
Terrence F. Smith Director of Government Affairs
Molly Cole, Manager of Business Development
Officers of the Board of Directors
Chair William Sage Sage Hotel Corporation
Treasurer Arthur Spears East Cambridge Savings Bank
Clerk Penny Garver, Sovereign | Santander
Members of the Board of Directors
Alex Attia, Charles Hotel
Joseph Barrell, Acorn Realty
Carl F. Barron, CARU Associates
Brian Burke, Microsoft
Dennis Carlone, Carlone & Associates
Sheldon Cohen, Community Mapping
Robyn Culbertson, Cambridge Office for Tourism
John DiGiovanni, Trinity Property Management
Andrea Gabrielle, Neptune Web, Inc. Sarah Gallop, MIT
Kathy Gram, Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company
Kathleen Granchelli, Draper Laboratory
Skip Hartwell, Akamai Technologies
Jeffrey Lockwood, Novartis
Thomas Lucey, Harvard University
Joseph Maguire, Jr., Alexandria Real Estate Equities
Norman McIver, Cambridge Trust Co.
Ellen McLaughlin, Tutoring Plus of Cambridge
Neal Mizner Metropolitan Moving & Storage Corp.
Michael O’Connell Mount Auburn Hospital
Rachael Solem Harding House at Harvard
Ann Stanesa, Feinstein Kean Healthcare
William Zamparelli, NSTAR
James C. Hawkins, Director Emeritus
We all know the cost of doing business continues to rise, on all fronts, especially providing benefits to yourself, let alone a staff. The CCC continually reviews what we offer our members to assist them in saving money on services and insurance products.
One area in which we have heavily invested is the fight to provide small businesses with lower health insurance rates (actually, lower rates for everyone). Twelve months ago, the CCC, along with the Massachusetts Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (MACCE), took advantage of a conversation with legislators and started a dialogue about offering small business the same group purchasing options as those offered to big business. To our surprise, we were met with interest and not the typical chuckle and “yes-ing” that some expect from politicians.
After much discussion, the topic was moved to the Division of Insurance and “official” hearings were started between health care providers, various businesses associations, including the CCC, officials and other “interested parties.” After 12 arduous hearings, it was decided that Group Purchasing Cooperatives would be formed and six individual organizations or associations would be certified to operate as Qualified Associations and offer these new, cost-effective plans.
As you would expect, specific provisions and expectations were put into place and organizations that wanted one of the six spots would need to apply and be approved to operate. One application came from MACCE, which will include the CCC’s right to take part. If your business is a CCC member in good standing you will have the option of utilizing these insurance plan(s).
What type of discount will be awarded and how many insurance companies will be involved has yet to be decided. In fact, it will be up to the individual cooperative to decide whether they will work with only one insurance provider or several. All the major carriers are interested but will also have to go through a Request for Proposal (RFP) process.
How will this work compared to your current process of getting insurance? Not much different. Once the Chamber provides proof of your membership, you would fill out a short co-op form, insurance enrollment form and apply for coverage through the CCC.
Where are we now in the process? Good question. The MACCE application is being reviewed and the plan is to announce the qualified associations by October 31. After that it will be a matter of the associations adding wellness program provisions and other requirements that will be added to all health care plans as we head into 2012.
The current timeline calls for enrollment in these plan(s) to be open and available in March or April 2012. As President & CEO of a highly invested chamber, immediate-past president and a board member of MACCE, I am staying in the loop on this process and its progress. MACCE has done a good job of staying on top of this issue and we have been involved every step of the way.
I promise to keep you apprised as we progress. I look forward to the day when I can announce that we can get you better rates without compromising your coverage. Now that’s a plan!
Best in business,
Kelly Thompson Clark
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