Chamber Corner

Chamber makes sense of health insurance confusion

By Todd J. Tranum

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

These are interesting times in the world of health insurance. There are significant changes occurring, and with that there is confusion, particularly among businesses and individuals who purchase health insurance. The Chamber of Commerce is here to help you through the process.

Here is some good news. The current plan structure in the Chamber of Commerce Bright Choices exchange will not change this year. If you are in the Bright Choices program you can maintain the plan in which you are currently enrolled whether you have 1-50 employees or are a sole proprietor. If you want to remain in your current insurance plan with the Chamber of Commerce you do not have to make any changes. If you want to look at other insurance options within the Bright Choices platform we can review those opportunities with you. If you are not in the Bright Choices program and want to get enrolled, call us as soon as possible. Specific information regarding rates through the Bright Choices program are available on our web-site at

The Chamber has invested significant time and resources to become knowledgeable about the Affordable Care Act and how it may impact your business and your employees. If you would like to look at health insurance options other than the Bright Choices program, the Chamber is ready to help you understand your options within the New York State Public Exchange. We can provide you with an analysis to determine the option that best fit your needs. If your employees are confused about their options or if you have determined to no longer provide health insurance and are directing your employees to the individual exchange we can help you and your employees through that transition.

To learn more about your health insurance options available on the Bright Choices Exchange, as well as options within the New York State Public Exchange attend one of our Health Insurance Information & Open Enrollment Meetings:

Tuesday, Oct. 1 at 7:30 a.m. in Sarita Weeks Room, JCC, Jamestown

Tuesday, Oct. 1 at 5:30 p.m. in Sarita Weeks Room, JCC, Jamestown

Thursday, Oct. 3 at 7:30 a.m. at SUNY Fredonia Technology Incubator, Central Avenue, Dunkirk

Thursday, Oct. 3 at 5:30 p.m. at SUNY Fredonia Technology Incubator, Central Avenue, Dunkirk

Tuesday, Oct. 8 at 5:30 p.m. at KeyBank, 369 East Fairmount Avenue, Lakewood

Wednesday, Oct. 9 at 7:30 a.m. at Tom’s Family Restaurant, 935 Routes 5 & 20, Irving

Wednesday, Oct. 9 at 5:30 p.m. at Chautauqua Marina, 104 West Lake Road, Mayville

Thursday, Oct. 10 at 7:30 a.m. at Community Bank, 1982 East Main Street, Falconer

Thursday, Oct. 10 at 5:30 p.m. at Fredonia Place, 50 Howard Street, Fredonia

Friday, Oct. 11 at 7:30 a.m. at Eason Hall, 20 Elm Street, Westfield

The Health Insurance Information and Open Enrollment meeting series is sponsored by Blackstone Business Enterprises, Health Republic, KeyBank and Univera.

The Chamber of Commerce is committed to helping you identify the health insurance plan that best meets your needs. If you have questions give us a call at 716-366-6200 or 716-484-1101 or e-mail

Chamber partners with SBDC on ACA

In addition to its own Health Insurance Information and Enrollment sessions, the Chamber is proud to help sponsor an upcoming session with the Small Business Development Center. Affordable Care Act: What You Need to Know, will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 18 in the Carnahan Building on the Jamestown Campus of JCC. This is a free event for anyone who wants more information about the Affordable Care Act, tax credits that may be available for businesses, and what resources are available. Registration is requested. Call 338-1024 to reserve a spot.

Save the date – Chamber Awards Banquet Oct. 17

The Annual Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet will be held once again this year at the Williams Center at SUNY Fredonia. Reconstructed last year, the Williams Center is a beautiful, multi-use facility at the heart of the Fredonia campus.

The Awards Banquet is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 17. It will pay tribute to not only the Chamber’s Economic Development Award winner and Person of the Year, but also to the Community Service Award winners chosen by each of the six Community Chambers in Chautauqua County: Dunkirk, Fredonia, Hanover, Jamestown, Mayville-Chautauqua, and Westfield-Barcelona.

All of the award winners will be announced shortly, and invitations will be mailed to all Chamber members in the weeks ahead. For now, put this event on your calendar. It is the largest, single business event in Chautauqua County each year, bringing together some 400 business people in once place. We hope to see you there.