The Community Chamber Development Corporation, a subsidiary of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce, has been awarded a $50,000 grant from the Community Service Society of New York to provide outreach and assistance to small businesses regarding health care and health insurance.
In 2009, the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce coordinated a study to better quantify the number of uninsured small businesses in Chautauqua County and identify the barriers that prevented small businesses from gaining coverage. The study showed that 48 percent of small businesses in Chautauqua County do not offer health insurance, largely because of the cost involved.
"We are proud to be a part of the Small Business Assistance Program network, and this funding will help us in our efforts to reach more small businesses in Western New York to help them navigate the sometimes confusing issues around availability of health care, small business tax credits, options for employees, and the variety of small group products available,'' said Todd Tranum, CCDC board member.
Under the Affordable Care Act, states can set up health insurance exchanges, or marketplaces, where individuals and small businesses can shop for and enroll into health coverage. To help ensure that New York's Small Business Exchange best meets the needs of New York's employers and employees, CSS has launched a pilot Small Business Assistance Program to educate small businesses about the health reform law, address their current insurance coverage needs and help inform the design and development of the state's Small Business Exchange.
"The model for this new program is our very own Community Health Advocates (CHA), which for the last decade has helped more than 200,000 New Yorkers navigate the health care system," said Elisabeth R. Benjamin, vice president of health initiatives at the Community Service Society. "With this outstanding statewide partnership, we can now join our expertise with trusted groups to address the health coverage and costs issues faced by New York's small businesses."
CCDC is one of 13 organizations to be selected for participation and represents Western New York in the statewide SBAP network. CCDC functions as an arm of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce. The not-for-profit organization has its own board, which oversees and acts as a fiscal agent for six community Chambers of Commerce in Chautauqua County with a mission of supporting the county's business communities by being a catalyst for growth and development.
CCDC representatives will work with groups or individual business owners through the Small Business Assistance Program. A group informational session will be held in a joint session with CCDC and the Downtown Jamestown Development Corporation from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 5, at the Dr. Lillian Vitanza Ney Renaissance Center, 119-121 E. Third St., Jamestown. Topics will include: coverage options for businesses, including Healthy NY; what's in health reform for small businesses; federal health reform tax credits; and premium rate review.
Additional group sessions are being established countywide and CCDC has been holding one-on-one meetings with a number of small businesses.
For more information, call CCDC at 366-6200 or 484-1101.