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Chamber BlueOptions Insurance Adds to its Options and Benefits for 2009 Suite of Insurance Plans Meeting Small Business Needs

Friday, November 7, 2008 General News J E 4
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AUGUSTA, Maine, Nov. 6 Building on the successfullaunch on a new line of insurance options for small businesses in Maine,the Maine State Chamber Purchasing Alliance, Inc., local chambers andAnthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield have announced further additions to itsChamber BlueOptions product line for 2009. Starting in January, ChamberBlueOptions will include eight health plans from HMO and PPO options withvarying levels of deductibles to consumer driven health plan options.

"Both employers and employees of small businesses are surprised by thevariety of choices they have to meet their employees own insurance needs,"said Dana Connors, President of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce. "Smallbusinesses are getting a range of health plan choices usually onlyavailable to a large company."

The plan options have been increased from seven to eight options for2009. Chamber BlueOptions health plans are available to small businesseswith 2-50 employees and self-employed people who are members of a Chamberof Commerce at the regional or local level. The suite of insurance plans isa joint offering of the Maine State Chamber Purchasing Alliance, Inc.,local chambers and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine. Unlike mostinsurance plans for small businesses, the eight options are available foreach employee to choose from, rather than a typical "one size fits all"approach. For example, a twelve person firm with eight employees electinghealth insurance coverage from their employer could have their employeeschoose eight different plans under Chamber BlueOptions -- an unprecedentedchoice for a small business.

More than 500 small businesses representing over 3,000 employees havechosen Chamber BlueOptions for their health insurance. More than twentypercent of enrollees did not previously have health insurance.

"Chamber BlueOptions is clearly meeting a need of small businesses inMaine for greater choice in health insurance options and our local chamberpartners are pleased about its success in the marketplace," said Connors."Our local and regional chambers are proud to be offering new and uniqueproducts to expand health care coverage to more Maine people."

Created as an independent affiliate of the Maine State Chamber, theMaine State Chamber Purchasing Alliance, Inc. offers small businesses whoare members of a local or regional chamber of commerce a suite of eighthealth plans including four PPO (preferred provider organization) planswith different deductibles and coinsurance levels, two HMO (healthmaintenance organization) plans and two Health Savings Account plans.

In addition to its expanded choices of plans, only 60% of a smallbusinesses' eligible employees must participate to qualify for groupcoverage. Typically, the minimum threshold for participation is 75% ofeligible employees.

In addition, Purchasing Alliance members can qualify for a discount onannual premiums if they undertake certain wellness activities. "As far aswe know, this is the only small group insurance product in Maine thatrewards employers for taking wellness seriously," said Connors. Thediscount would become available at the employees' annual renewal.

"Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is proud to team up with local andregional chambers of commerce in Maine to offer enhanced health coveragechoice and flexibility for Maine's small business community," said DanCorcoran, president, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine. "The moreproducts and choices consumers have, the greater the likelihood they willfind an insurance product that meets their individual needs."

Chamber BlueOptions is available to local and regional chamber membersthrough their local insurance broker or through the Maine State Chamber website. (www.chamberblueoptions.com)

About the Maine State Chamber of Commerce ...

The Maine State Chamber of Commerce represents a diverse network of5,000 businesses statewide and advocates on behalf of their interestsbefore the Legislature and regulatory agencies and through conferences,seminars, and affiliated programs. Through its OneVoice program, the MaineState Chamber represents thousands of businesses with fewer than 10employees. Its Grassroots Action Network works to involve members andtheir employees in the legislative process through outreach campaigns.

SOURCE Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine
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