By Jessica Coates, Marketing and Communications Intern, Fitchburg State University
WORCESTER – On Thursday, Jan. 24, the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce held its first Seminar Series of the year sponsored by TD Bank.
The seminar, titled Helping Navigate Your Health Insurance Choice, aimed to help both small and large businesses alike to choose the proper health insurance for their employees. The event featured two presenters, both well-versed in health insurance, Chaitra Sanders, distribution channel and account manager for the Massachusetts Health Connector, and Kate Sharry, area VP of Arthur J. Gallagher & Company and chair of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce board of directors. Additionally, representatives from Fallon Health, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, and Tufts Health Plan were in attendance to answer individual member questions at the beginning and end of the event.
Sanders’ presentation focused on small business options with the Health Connector for Business. The Health Connector launched this option in January 2018, which is specifically designed for companies with 50 or fewer employees. The program features two exclusive benefits, including Employee Choice Models and a ConnectWell rebate.
The Employee Choice Models include three options for employers: one plan, one carrier, or one level. This allows employers to either choose one option for all of their employees, or they can choose one insurance carrier or one level of coverage, thus allowing their employees to choose a similar option that suits their lifestyle.
“Employers can shop based on their needs and budget,” said Sanders, due to the easy navigation and wide array of options on the Health Connector website. The entire process is online and there are no membership fees to use the service, so it is a valuable resource for businesses to use and save.
The ConnectWell rebate, which was relaunched on Jan. 1, 2019, is designed to give employers an incentive to offer health insurance, as well as to encourage employees to take care of their own wellness. This program is available to companies with 25 or fewer employees, and offers more than 25 activities in three wellness categories: mind, body, and money. If at least one-third of a business’ employees participate in the program, the employer receives a 15% rebate from that year’s health insurance premium. Additionally, each of the participating employees will receive a $100 gift card for their involvement.
For those who did not meet the Health Connector’s requirements, Sharry’s presentation focused on a broader range of business sizes. She stressed that it is important to consider both employer and employee needs when choosing an insurance plan. Factors include budget, demographics and culture, and what matters most to employees.
“Health insurance is extremely personal,” said Sharry, emphasizing that everyone uses their insurance differently. Once the company’s needs are determined, the employer can work with a broker or consultant to figure out how to design their plan. Different incentives such as tiered deductibles, waived copays on certain services such as acupuncture and chiropractic, and having multiple plans to choose from, allow employers to customize their options to fit their needs. “You want to offer competitive, comprehensive benefits,” she added, and by communicating with employees and focusing on what they need, choosing an effective health insurance plan is easier than ever.
For more information about the Health Connector for Business plan, visit their website or call them at 1.888.813.9220.
About the Series
The Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce hosts a Seminar Series event once every month to educate businesses about important topics in the industry. These events are free for Chamber members and $25 for non-members. Keep an eye out on our calendar for upcoming dates and topics.