In this March Issue...
- Message from the CEO
- Medical Care Away From Home: Are You Covered?
- Independent Health: Treating Heart Disease
- Don't Leave Money on the Table! Get Your Wellness Card!
- What's for Dinner? Chicken Piccata!
Message from President/CEO A.J. Baynes

We understand how daunting it can be to navigate your health insurance, but you can count on the Amherst Chamber to guide you and your employees through the various plans. What makes the Chamber different in handling your healthcare needs is our personal attention . We are the only Chamber in the region providing health insurance with three trained members of our staff available to answer your questions. We take your health very seriously, and we appreciate you trusting us with this important benefit. Call or email our team below with all your concerns. We wish you a safe, healthy and happy 2018!
Health Insurance Q&A
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What You Should Know About Using Your Health Insurance Plan Away From Home
 
Coverage for emergency care whether you are near your home or traveling (domestically and internationally) is a feature of all health plans and includes students who are away at school. Since there is no concrete definition of “emergency”, insurance companies review the situation’s urgency when the claim comes in and may ask for more information. As long as the emergency is considered to be life-threatening, it will be covered as in-network, regardless if the hospital is in your plan’s network. 
 
Choosing out-of-network care is an option in any health plan. Most often this involves a provider in another city but it is possible to choose out-of-network providers in western New York, too. If you do elect to consult a provider who is not in your plan’s network, you will pay more and have higher out-of-pocket costs for services. Service fees are higher because out-of-network providers have not agreed to pre-negotiated discounted rates with the insurance company. Out of network services are also subject to higher cost share in the form of a separate deductible and in some cases coinsurance.
 
Out-of-area care is a special feature of PPO plans and is different than out-of-network care. For example, WNY businesses with employees elsewhere in the state or country, or who travel frequently, will choose a PPO plan because the in-network healthcare provider group is expanded to a nationwide spectrum of physicians and hospitals. As a result, employees are covered at in-network prices wherever they may be as long as designated providers are used. If a non-participating provider is used, however, higher out-of-network charges will apply.
 
Do you have additional questions? Would you like more information about health insurance benefits for your business? The Amherst Chamber has three licensed brokers on staff ready to assist you. Please contact us by email healthinsurance@amherst.org
or at the number below! 
Your Amherst Chamber of Commerce licensed brokers
are here to help!
Penny LaPlaca
Christine Langenfeld
Olivia Dann
Call the Chamber offices at 632-6905 to get your questions answered.  
Heart Disease Study
Study: Heart Disease Treatment Is Improving and More Cost-Effective
 
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly one in every four deaths is due to heart disease.
 
While progress has been made to reduce heart-related deaths in recent years, millions of Americans continue to need cardiac treatment and procedures.   
 
Yet, the types of cardiac services and physicians’ strategies to treat cardiac conditions vary greatly across regions and hospitals. Many services commonly performed or ordered by cardiologists have been identified by professional medical societies as contributing to overutilization, inefficiency and high costs. 
 
Concerned by the variation of care and multiple approaches to treat cardiac disease, Independent Health wanted to learn more from the experts who treat heart disease everyday – the cardiologists themselves. 
 
In 2012, Independent Health convened a group of forward-thinking, cardiologists from the community with the goal to chart a new path of cardiac care in Western New York. Armed with data and open to transparency and collaboration, the group of cardiologists worked to reduce variations in care, reduce costs and build collaboration with primary care physicians.  
 
After a two-year period during which the physicians made efforts to use best practices, evidence-based criteria and share their experiences with each other, the results were positive. Performance reports from 2013 to 2015 indicated:
·          A significant reduction in the variation of care and closer adherence to evidence-based medicine
·          A 3.5 percent aggregate cost decrease over the two-year period (compared to previous annual trend increases prior to the engagement)
·          Improved patient satisfaction
 
With the success of this initiative with cardiologists, Independent Health has plans to develop strategic partnerships with other specialties.
 
Click here to download a detailed case study of the cardiology initiative.  
 
Get Fit for Free!
Your Wellness Benefits:  Don’t leave money on the table!
 
Have you used all or part of your $250 Wellness Card? This year, every plan from Independent Health and BlueCross BlueShield and Univera offers a 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 immediately on goods and services ranging from gym memberships and acupuncture to massage therapy, your children’s swim lessons, or vitamins and supplements. Your card balance remains available through the end of your contract year.
 
You also have Wellness Discounts and can start taking advantage of the savings today! Your insurance ID card gets you money off on a huge variety of activities, fitness, dining, and other health and wellness goods and services with organizations throughout the community. Check out your carrier’s online Member Discounts pages for great ideas on things to do in Western New York!
 
Reach out to any of the three brokers on staff here at the Amherst Chamber for assistance and let us help you get the most from your health care dollar! 
  
Chicken Piccata

Need ideas for a healthy, tasty chicken dish for dinner? Check out this recipe for Chicken Piccata from Cooking Light! Enjoy!
  
Click here for the recipe. 
 Amherst Chamber of Commerce | (P) 716.632.6905 | (F) 716.632.0548 | www.amherst.org