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Just What the Doctor Ordered!

Finally, some good news on the health insurance front. First, recent health insurance premium increases were held to the low single-digits and in some cases were lowered versus last year's rates. Second, the Massachusetts Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (MACCE) will be offering discounted rates on several health plans through the Neponset Valley Chamber and other chambers statewide to businesses with 50 or fewer full-time employees. Third, the state legislature is working on a healthcare cost-containment bill aimed at lowering the cost of healthcare for consumers.

This Chamber, MACCE and other business organizations have fought long and hard for the ability to negotiate discounts with insurers on group insurance for small businesses much like a large corporation can. I am pleased to say that our efforts have been successful, and that we will be announcing our discounted health insurance plan options in a matter of days. In the meantime, you can learn more about our Health Insurance Cooperative at its website, http://www.chamberhealthcoop.com.

Of course saving money on health insurance is just one step in reducing the overall cost of healthcare. There are a number of other things that we as individuals and businesses can and should consider doing. Among these are participating in a Wellness program, utilizing a cost-transparency service and becoming an informed consumer of healthcare. Fortunately, there are several options available to us for each of these strategies. The MACCE Health Insurance Cooperative will include a Wellness program as required by the state. Companies who enroll their employees in the Cooperative will also be able to enroll them in a Wellness program aimed at educating and empowering their employees to lead healthier lifestyles, which it is expected to lead to lower costs and ultimately lower premiums. And frankly, what business wouldn't want their employees to lead a healthier lifestyle? The MACCE Cooperative will also include a cost transparency feature that will assist subscribers in choosing the most cost-effective treatment within their network. We have all heard the stories of one hospital charging $3,000 for a procedure and another charging $2,000 for the same procedure with the same result. Participants in the Cooperative will be able to research their options in advance and make the best choice for themselves regarding their care. This too, should help to reduce the cost of premiums, deductibles and co-pays.

To your health!

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