With small businesses hurting, in some cases hurting badly from the mandates of Obamacae, the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and SWBC have come up with an option which could become the model for small companies nationwide, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Called the 'Texas Association Health Plan, it is managed by SWBC Employee Benefits Consulting Group to small businesses who are chamber members, according to Andrew Grove, Senior Vice President of SWBC.
"It allows employers with fewer than fifty employees to band together, and have access to pricing that larger employers enjoy today," he said.
Small businesses are dealing with higher premiums, higher costs, and fewer and fewer coverage options, and Grove says plans like this were made possible by a recent ruling by the U.S. Department of Labor which allows similar 'affinity plans' to be made available to companies which are members of specific organizations, in this case, the Chamber.
Companies with 2-50 employees are eligible, and members have access to thirty medical plans, along with non medical benefits such as dental, vision, and life insurance.
Grove says the cost savings could meant he difference between a small retailers, restaurant, or service company surviving and prospering, and being forced to lay off workers.
"It could save five to fifteen percent compared to what they could get out on the open market," he said.
Chamber President Richard Perez points out that firms that employ 2-50 employees are 'the backbone of our economy and employ a majority of our city's population.
Grove says the benefits are provided by United HealthCare and cover the same range of services offered by traditional plans.
"The Department of Labor changed the rules to allow employers to band together to create these sorts of association plans, and I do believe you will see more of these sprouting up around the country," he said.