Chamber Corner

Business health insurance issues always answered here

By TODD TRANUM

President and CEO of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce & Executive Director of the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier

The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce has a long history of assisting the business community with its health insurance needs. In fact, as federal and state requirements change, the Chamber is still poised to provide the best options for both employers and employees.

Full implementation of the Affordable Care Act by January 2014 will require employers to take some action. In addition, as New York state implements its new Health Benefit Exchange Plan, both businesses and employees may need to make some changes in the way they receive health insurance in the near future.

The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce was among the first in the state to offer a health insurance exchange program to its members. As a result of this offering, businesses have been able to contain costs, while employees have been able to choose from a broad array of benefit plans that in most cases has only been available to Fortune 500 companies in the past. In fact, because of our experience, the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce was able to offer input on the new state health benefits exchange program.

The Chamber of Commerce has helped hundreds of businesses over the past year understand how the Affordable Care Act affects their business. We are helping local businesses take advantage of tax credits that they were eligible to access, in addition to educating businesses regarding the changes that are on the way in the coming months.

What all of this means for businesses in Chautauqua County moving forward is this: there is still a trusted, local, experienced source for all of your health insurance information and services. The Chamber of Commerce will still be here to provide health insurance plans for its eligible small business members in a cost-effective and efficient way. We will also be here to help answer questions for any business owner that may be struggling to figure out what the new regulations mean and how best to meet their requirements.

If you have concerns or questions about health insurance needs for your business or your employees, please call us at 484-1101 or 366-6200.

State Legislative Breakfast set for April 19

Each year the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce provides opportunities for its members to have a direct conversation with elected officials from each level of government. This year, the State Legislative Breakfast will be held April 19 at the Lakewood Rod & Gun Club. Senator Cathy Young and Assemblyman Andrew Goodell will provide their insights about legislation in Albany, and be available for questions from the audience.

The State Legislative Breakfast is sponsored by Affinity One Federal Credit Union, Buffamante, Whipple, Buttafaro, PC, DFT Communications, Jamestown Community College, Jamestown Mattress Company, KeyBank, Lake Erie Regional Health System of New York, Nestle Purina PetCare, OBSERVER, The Post-Journal, Serta Mattress Company, SKF Aeroengine North America, the State University of New York at Fredonia, WCA Hospital, and WJTN/WWSE/WKSN/WHUG/WQFX.

The State Legislative Breakfast is just $15 per person. You can register online through the Chamber’s website and online events calendar or call the Chamber at 366-6200 or 484-1101.

Web strategy seminar April 17

The Chamber of Commerce and Manufacturers Association are proud to help sponsor Social Media Meets ROI – a workshop which will be conducted by the Small Business Development Center on Wednesday, April 17.

As online competition becomes more intense for businesses, the SBDC will help companies to explore whether their business is prepared, if potential customers can find them online, and whether they are maximizing profit opportunities through the web. Topics will include Ecommerce, search engine strategies, utilizing social media for business, and video and content marketing.

The session, also co-sponsored by the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency, will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. at Jamestown Community College. The cost is $20 per person. You can register by calling (716)338-1024.