In this September Issue...
- Message from the CEO
- Save on Your Health Insurance Presentation ONE WEEK AWAY!
- Health Insurance Q&A
- Independent Health: US Must Get a Grip on Skyrocketing Prescription Costs
- Featured Recipe
Message from the CEO

WHY WE ARE HOSTING A HEALTH INSURANCE EVENT?

As mentioned numerous times in this newsletter, the Chamber is hosting a Save on Your Health Insurance Presentation September 26 th. Our members may wonder why we would devote so much to facilitating an event of this nature so early in the Open Enrollment process. The reason is our dedication to serving the small business community by providing the products and services that encourage your profitability. Health Insurance cost and access continues to be a challenge for our members. Our licensed, professional staff recognizes your pain points and works diligently to assist in offering a wide variety of plan choices at all price points and looking to identify opportunities for you to save money. Unlike many brokers, we do not have separate sales and service departments. This means that we don’t have sales people who are commissioned on your business and then disappear, leaving you to call a service person who has no recognition for you or your employees. We are your Chamber of Commerce – we care about you 12 months a year!

2018 health insurance premiums are expected to increase dramatically. The business community is being crippled by these costs. Our sole proprietors and small groups can’t absorb any more premium escalations. However, employee benefits and health coverage is critically important to them. So, in response, we have organized this forum to assist our members and potential members with the opportunity to facilitate an early enrollment and lock in 2017 rates. 

We work closely with our local carriers. Much of the increase for 2018 is beyond their control. Outrageous prescription drug costs account for as much as 25% of your premium dollar. Over $50 million dollars on average per carrier was dedicated to taxes and assessments. Everyone is paying the price for increased health care costs. The carriers will join our staff to provide you with the information you require to make the best decision at the best price point for your health benefit needs. 

2018 benefit plans will be available at the meeting. Attendees will have the opportunity to examine their ability to lock in 2017 rates and/or facilitate their renewal for 2018 at this time. We do not charge any enrollment fees, nor do we use a third party administrator which increases costs. We offer plans for sole proprietors, working individuals or small groups. Go to www.amherst.org to register for this important meeting.
ONE WEEK AWAY...
Save on Your Health Insurance Presentation!
Health Insurance Q&A
Consider a Tiered Benefit Plan to Lower Costs

Open enrollment is almost here and finding health insurance that lowers cost while preserving coverage is a priority for many. Tiered benefit plans have emerged as an especially relevant option for 2018.

Tiered benefit plans offer the ability to save money by seeking care from a preferred group of physicians, hospitals and facilities. These plans give you the freedom to seek care from any Western New York doctor or hospital in your carrier’s full provider network, but provide the greatest cost-savings when you use the plan’s specified network of health care providers.

Put another way, a subscriber in a tiered benefit plan has two tiers – or cost shares – of in-network benefits to choose from. Cost share (out-of-pocket costs) will be significantly lower when providers in the plan’s preferred network are used.

Examples of tiered benefit plans include the Choice Plus plans from Independent Health and the Align and Focus plans from BlueCross BlueShield.

Before selecting one of these plans, it is very important to confirm that your providers participate in the preferred network of the plan you are choosing. Do this using the ‘Find a Doctor’ link on the carrier website or ask your providers directly.

The Amherst Chamber has three staff brokers to assist you in your health and dental plan decisions and is pleased to present the  Save On Your Health Insurance Presentation, an informational open house, on Tuesday 9/26 from 2-5 pm at UB’s Center For Tomorrow. A presentation of plan designs by the three major carriers will take place from 2:30-3:00 pm. From 3-5 pm, meet one-on-one with a licensed Amherst Chamber broker to identify the best plan for you and your employees. To reserve, please call the Chamber office at 716-632-6905 or reserve online at www.amherst.org
Your Amherst Chamber of Commerce licensed brokers
are here to help!
Call the Chamber offices at 632-6905 to get your questions answered.  
US Must Get a Grip on Skyrocketing Prescription Costs
By Martin Burruano, R.Ph.
Vice President, Pharmacy at Independent Health

One of the prescriptions for transforming health care in the United States is finding a cure for skyrocketing drug costs. These costs continue to increase at an alarming and unsustainable rate, driven largely by expensive specialty medications, the random repricing of generic drugs and an overall lack of transparency in pricing.

The recent decision by Humana, a large for-profit health insurer, to adopt a policy to not cover the generic versions of certain drugs is the latest wake-up call for our elected leaders to act.

Prescription drug expenditures represent nearly 20 percent of our nation’s health care costs. A recent study by Consumer Reports found 28 million Americans experienced a spike in the cost of their prescription medication in the past 12 months and for 4 million of them, the price was so high they walked away from their prescription altogether.

Featured Recipe
Habanero-Apricot Chicken Sandwiches

For many, September marks the start of football season an d tailgating. However, you don't have to break your diet to enjoy the tailgating festivities. These chicken thighs get simmered to saucy perfection before being piled high on a toasted bun and topped with tangy slaw, a great tailgating treat!

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