For the past four years the Chamber of Commerce has focused a great deal of energy behind helping businesses access health insurance. We introduced the Bright Choices Exchange three years ago because we saw significant changes occurring within the insurance market and recognized the importance of delivering more value to our membership. In the past two years we saw the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) at the federal level and recognized that even more changes were on the way.
In response to these changes, we not only reinvented our insurance program offerings but also made it a priority to work with our partners at the State level to stay ahead of the curve and engaged in the efforts by New York State to comply with the ACA. We have had a lot of help in this. We have had the good fortune of being closely aligned with the Chamber Alliance of New York State (CANYS). I currently serve on the board of this organization as well as Chair the Health Insurance Task Force. CANYS has been pro-active in working with the Department of Finance & Insurance and the Health Department, as well as directly with the Governor's office and leaders in the State Senate and Assembly, with a particular focus on the insurance exchange. Through the CANYS organization Chambers of Commerce have benefited from a great deal of visibility within the health care reform discussion. As a result of our participation, the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce and has been very visible on the specific topic of health insurance.
There is a great deal of discussion surrounding the Supreme Court and the decisions they will reveal this summer pertaining to the ACA, yet it is clear that New York State is on the path of implementing health care reform regardless of a Supreme Court decision. Many strides have been made at the State level and to continue that momentum Governor Cuomo signed an Executive Order just a couple of weeks ago authorizing the Department of Health and the Department of Finance and Insurance to move toward implementation of key elements of the Affordable Care Act at the State level. As these discussions continue, we will be able to provide additional input into the final model. At the same time, we will continue to innovate within our own product offerings in an effort to deliver health insurance products to our members that provide high quality and affordable coverage.
We are staying on the cutting edge of health insurance by providing the Bright Choices Exchange to our membership. The Bright Choices Exchange is revolutionizing the buying and delivering of employee benefits. Now businesses can control the ever-rising costs of benefits, particularly health insurance, while offering greater choice and coverage to employees. In a few short years this innovative solution has saved millions of dollars for Chamber of Commerce members across New York. It is through this exchange that even small businesses can access Fortune 500 type benefits. The Bright Choices Exchange makes it easy by offering an online questionnaire that guides each employee in personalizing their own benefits portfolio to get the best coverage at the lowest possible price. And when employees are involved in making informed health insurance choices, they become more active participants in their health care, leading to more preventive care and healthier lifestyles. In addition employers and employees get year-round service online and on the phone by licensed benefits professionals based right here in the U.S.
Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce members can find out more by calling 366-6200 or 484-1101 and asking about Bright Choices today.
A GRAPE LEARNING AND NETWORKING EXPERIENCE
The next Chautauqua County Chamber Networking Mixer will be held on Thursday, May 17 at 21 Brix Winery in Portland. One of the newest wineries in Chautauqua County, 21 Brix very recently received a Value Added Grant from USDA to help bolster its wine-making and distribution avenues, and to create jobs.
The Mixer is sponsored by Casella Waste Service, Jamestown Jammers, Jamestown Savings Bank Arena, the OBSERVER, The Post-Journal, and WDOE/96KIX. To register, call the Chamber at 366-6200 or 484-1101, or visit our website at www.chautauquachamber.org.
MAYVILLE-CHAUTAUQUA BUSINESS AFTER HOURS
The Mayville-Chautauqua Community Chamber of Commerce will hold a Business After Hours event on Wednesday, May 9 at the Athenaeum Hotel on the grounds of Chautauqua Institution. This networking and learning event will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m., with an hors d'oeuvres reception and soft drinks provided by the hotel. A full cash bar will be available.
This event is free to Chamber members who register in advance and bring a non-member guest. Non-member guests who register in advance may also attend for free. The cost for walk-ins and registered guests who are not bringing a non-member is $5. Registration is available through the Chautauqua County Chamber website at www.chautauquachamber.org.
JOIN THE CHAMBER NOW
The 2012 Chamber of Commerce Membership Drive continues through the month of May. There are many benefits of Chamber membership including: tools to increase profits such as Shop Chautauqua County Gift Checks and discounts on services; connections to new customers through networking events, sponsorships, and business promotion opportunities; representation where it matters through legislative events and advocacy; and information and new ideas including weekly updates, monthly e-newsletters, training and development, and guest speakers.
If you have not been contacted by a volunteer yet and are interested in joining the Chamber, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit our website at www.chautauquachamber.org, or call one of our offices at 366-6200 or 484-1101.