In this December Issue...
-Message from the President/CEO: Happy, Healthy Holiday!
-Have a Health Insurance Question?: Contact our Team
-Holiday Gift-Giving: Donate Life!
-Independent Health VIDEO: Schedule Your Annual Exam!
-Independent Health: Maximizing High Deductibles
-Kaleida Health: DeGraff Opens New ER
-What's for Dinner? A Healthy Pasta Dish Ready in Just Minutes!
Message from President/CEO A.J. Baynes
The holidays are here, but most of the hustle and bustle at the Chamber involves open enrollment. Our team of brokers has been getting everyone signed up for insurance coverage in the new year. We have been meeting with members and answering their questions. The Chamber strives to make this important process informative and seamless for you.

The Chamber also understands the tremendous financial commitment it takes to keep you and your family healthy, and you can count on our brokers to help you get the most from your health care coverage.

Before the year is out, we would like to remind you to take advantage of the Wellness Benefits offered by Independent Health, BlueCross BlueShield and Univera Healthcare.

IH and BCBS offer a $250 prepaid credit/debit card that can be used by you, and any dependents on your policy, to make health and wellness activities more affordable. Use it on goods and services ranging from gym memberships and acupuncture to massage therapy, your children’s swim lessons, or vitamins and supplements. Univera Healthcare subscribers can claim up to $300 in Wellness Rewards plus up to $200 in Dental Rewards annually. Simply submit proof of participation in a qualified wellness activity to receive your reward.

While we are on the subject, don't forget your Wellness Discounts. Your insurance ID card can get you money off a huge variety of activities, fitness, dining, and other health and wellness goods and services with organizations throughout the community. Check out Member Discounts on your carrier’s website for great ideas on things to do in Western New York! 

The Chamber values your business and will remain dedicated to your health care needs in the coming year. Have a wonderful and safe holiday and a healthy 2019!
Your Amherst Chamber of Commerce licensed brokers are here to help!
Penny LaPlaca
Christine Langenfeld
Olivia Dann
Call the Chamber offices at 632-6905 or email for more information.  
Holiday Gift-Giving: Donate Life


There is always an urgent need for lifesaving blood during the holiday season.

The Unyts bus will be in our parking lot along with the Lloyd Taco Truck.

Donors will receive a coupon for a free taco and will also have a chance to win a gift certificate to Glen Park Tavern in Williamsville!

For more information and to make an appointment click HERE!

Are You Due for Your Annual Exam?
Start the new year off right by scheduling your annual doctor visit.

It's easy to put it off, but there are several good reasons to check in with your doctor once a year.

The annual visit allows doctors to track their patients’ health and coordinate their care.
Independent Health 's goal in producing this video is to encourage you to schedule your annual visit and maintain an on-going relationship with your practice. Check it out!
Five Ways to Maximize Your High Deductible Health Plan

In recent years, enrollment has grown steadily in high deductible health plans (HDHPs), which typically offer lower premiums than traditional copayment-based plans.

In fact, a recent survey by the Centers for Disease Control indicates HDHP membership at more than 40 percent of insured adults.  

People considering their health coverage options may be hesitant to enroll in an HDHP because of the annual deductibles, which can start at $1,350 for a single policy and $2,700 for a family policy. However, depending on the HDHP, many of them cover preventive services outside of the deductible. 

HDHPs can be a great value for the cost of coverage. There are many ways to plan and prepare for the financial outlay of the deductible. Here are five things people can do to get the most out of their high-deductible health plan.

1.       Set up a Health Savings Account (HSA).  An HSA is a tax-free medical savings account that you can set up and contribute tax-free dollars into. Some HSA accounts allow the account holder to choose different funds, much like a 401k account. Withdrawals are tax-free as long as you are using the funds for unreimbursed medical expenses, such as when you’re paying out-of-pocket for services before you’ve met your plan deductible.  Read more on HSAs here .

2.        Don’t forego preventive care.  Although your plan has a deductible, most HDHP plans – more than likely any plan you’ll buy in New York state – cover annual wellness visits and preventive care (such as required immunizations) with no cost share

3.        Use generic alternative medications whenever you can . Longstanding medications, such as antibiotics, prescription-strength Motrin® and others, all have generic equivalents or alternatives. For example, the acid-reflux medication omeprazole costs just over $6 per monthly prescription. Its brand name – Nexium – costs more than $250 per month. If you’re taking a brand name medication, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about switching to a generic medication that’s covered by your plan.

4.       Use free-standing laboratories or ambulatory surgery centers.  When your doctor recommends a health care service, like a chest X-ray or MRI, where you go could save you money. In most cases, a freestanding facility provides the same services as a hospital, but typically for a lower cost. For some examples, check out our comparisons.

5.        Take advantage of wellness discounts and programs.  Many health plans include some sort of wellness benefit or program as part of the benefits package. For example, Independent Health offers FitWorks Rewards as part of its small group and individual health plans. Many large employer groups offer FitWorks Prime. Members may also be able to choose our nutrition benefit through Tops Friendly Markets. Wellness and physical activity are key to staying healthy, so using your health plan’s extra services and benefits can augment your preventive care and keep your personal health care expenses lower.

As with any decision, opting to enroll into an HDHP is a personal one and should not be based on premiums alone. Having an HDHP means taking more control and involvement in your own care. Following these simple tips above can help HDHP members get the full value and advantage out of HDHPs and minimizing the impact of the upfront deductibles.

For more articles like this one, and others about health care, coverage and Independent Health, visit A Healthy Vision , Independent Health’s blog.
DeGraff Unveils New ER
DeGraff Hospital’s New Emergency Department Officially Dedicated
NORTH TONAWANDA, N.Y (November 2018) - Kaleida Health’s plan to enhance and upgrade its Niagara County hospital took another step forward, with the official dedication of DeGraff Memorial Hospital’s new $7.8 million emergency department project.
The project is the focal point of “DeGraff 2020,” Kaleida Health’s plan for the future state of the North Tonawanda facility.
“Like most community hospitals across the country, Degraff Memorial Hospital has had to adapt to meet the changing landscape of healthcare, said Darcy Craven, president, DeGraff Memorial and Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospitals . “This new emergency department is the cornerstone of the new DeGraff and will serve as the gateway to Kaleida Health’s world class services for the residents of the Tonawandas.”
The expansion includes 17 treatment bays, including a dedicated bariatric room and an airborne isolation room. It also includes a decontamination area suitable for current and emerging infectious diseases. To further accommodate geriatric patients, DeGraff Hospital will use non-glare lighting, slip proof flooring, increased family space, plus signage with oversized lettering.
To help improve the patient experience, the Emergency Department has relocated from the west side of hospital campus to the east side, fronting the Twin City Highway and allowing for better access, parking and visibility for patients, families and visitors.
Last renovated in 1975, the space has more than doubled from 4,800 square feet to 10,000 square feet. 
Jody Lomeo, president and CEO of Kaleida Health said, “Over the course of 100 years, this facility has evolved and adapted to meet the needs of the community. This milestone would not have been possible without the support, talent, and dedication of so many people. From our nurses and physicians to the construction team and everyone in between - we thank everyone who shared our vision and believed in a better day for DeGraff Memorial Hospital.”
Over 1,500 inpatient cases are generated annually from DeGraff into Kaleida Health facilities. DeGraff 2020 calls for the hospital to focus on emergency department access, infusion services, wound care, its geriatric clinic and outpatient services like imaging, lab and rehabilitation services. The hospital averaged 14,000 emergency room visits over the past three years.
Pasta Puttanesca!
The holidays are here and the mad rush is on, leaving little time to make dinner. Don't scramble at the last minute or eat out again! Try this healthy and delicious pasta dish that is ready in under 30 minutes!

Click here for the recipe. 
 Amherst Chamber of Commerce | (P) 716.632.6905 | (F) 716.632.0548 |