The Teaneck Chamber of Commerce together with other Bergen-Passaic chambers actively worked together to change the law so that small businesses with 1-50 employees could purchase group health insurance through their local Chamber of Commerce.
The primary sponsor for this legislative amendment (Bill Number S-2874) was Senator Gerald Cardinale (R-District 39, Bergen), ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee. "In these tough economic times, it's critical that government work with business to make health care more affordable," said Cardinale.
Since introducing the bill on May 12, 2011, the Senator has garnered support from the bill's Democratic co-sponsors: Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-District 37, Bergen), and Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-District 22, Middlesex/Morris/Union).
A massive campaign was mounted by the various participating chambers to encourage their memberships and communities to write letters in support of this bill to their various representatives.
Bill S2874 was subsequently renamed S113. http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2012/Bills/S0500/113_I1.PDF
The bill in part, read: “Small employers, that is, employers that employ between one and 50 employees and sole proprietors, have traditionally been at an economic disadvantage with respect to the purchase and provision of health benefits for their employees and themselves because certain administrative and premium rate savings that are available to larger employers are not available to them by virtue of their size;
b. Providing for the establishment of purchasing alliances comprised of groups of small employers and sole proprietors would enable them to take advantage of the economies of scale in the delivery of health benefits currently available to large employer groups; and...”
While this was being worked on by the Inter Chamber Consortium task force, the Teaneck Chamber of Commerce was busy investigating a back-up plan, while not the same as the original, the thrust was to help small business get health insurance at group rates. Once it became clear that the original plan would not materialize, meaning, the bill would never be released to the floor by Senator Nia Gill, the alternate plan was then initiated. After several meetings last year and with the show of interest, the alternate plan was placed in action with all details appearing on the Teaneck Chamber’s web-site http://www.teaneckchamber.org/insurance.php.
Moving forward now for 2013, the Group Health Insurance Plan for New Jersey small to medium sized businesses is in place and ready to go. With thanks to Holy Name Medical Center for hosting this free event, the Teaneck Chamber of Commerce together with QualCare will on Tuesday July 23, 2013 at 7:00pm at Marian Hall/Holy Name Medical Center, 718 Teaneck Rd., invite all those businesses that have participated in the past and would now like to move forward as well as all those that just came on and would like to know more. There will be no food being served as the goal is to get right to business. Parking is available in the main parking lot for your convenience. No charge for parking. Bring parking stubs inside for validation. The information desk will direct you to Marian Hall.
The program that is being put in place is quite a bit different than many of the other plans that one might find out in the market place. For one, and possibly the most important, as a participant in the plans found on the chamber website, its members can take more of an ownership and participatory approach, it is taking advantage of the resources that are locally available through Holy Name Medical Center and the other participating hospitals with QualCare. Members are encouraged to strive for healthier lifestyles. As part of the presentation with question and answer session, Linda Lohsen, RN and Director of the Center for Healthy Living at Holy Name will present a segment on wellness. At a time when healthcare is soaring we are taking advantage of what we can do to contain costs and provide quality care.
The program that is currently in place will easily adapt as the insurance landscape changes. Kindly RSVP by Friday, July 19th with names of participants as well as contact information to the Chamber contact information noted below.
To receive additional information on the Teaneck Chamber of Commerce, its activities, programs, membership or to get on their e-mail list, please visit the Chamber’s website at http://www.teaneckchamber.org; visit the Chamber’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/TeaneckCoC ; contact the Chamber office at 201-801-0012 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.