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Kent Chamber offers insurance to membership

Gives group-rate prices for small businesses

The Kent Chamber of Commerce is rolling out a new program to allow members to join together to offer health insurance for their employees at a reduced rate.

Working with Maddock & Associates, the chamber is setting up a new group rate that will allow the small businesses that make up its membership gain the benefits usually reserved for larger corporations.

“It can be a challenge,” David Maddock of Maddock & Associates said about providing healthcare for employees at a small business. “This new program makes it easy for them to get.”

The rates are achieved through a trust, put together with multiple chambers of commerce throughout the region, giving everyone involved a volume discount.

“With this you can get into a great group plan at a great rate,” said Chamber Executive Director Andrea Keikkala.

The new program is designed for businesses with less than 100 employees.

Maddock said the new program includes three different options for business and offers medical, dental, life insurance and vision, all on the same program.

“For a small business you want to make it as simple as possible,” Maddock said.

Another unique aspect of the Chamber plan is the option of a health savings account, which creates special accounts from which employees pay medical expenses. While the deductibles are usually much higher with an HSA, Maddock said most people do not visit the doctor often so major expenses are usually covered.

The HSAs are also property of the employee, much like an IRA, and the money in the account follows the employee from job to job or matures into a retirement account.

Maddock said the HSAs tend to encourage workers to make healthier choices and take more preventative actions because of the high deductible and the prospect of keeping more money.

Employers will have the option of offering a traditional insurance plan or choosing one with an HSA. There are no health questionnaires to fill out.

According to the chamber, the insurance package is something for which members have been asking for some time and interest is high.

“A lot of the smaller businesses have been really excited about it,” said Dana Krawchuk, membership director. “It’s a great partnership.”

Krawchuk said the program is another way for the chamber to reach out to its membership.

“Healthy communities are important and making sure our businesses get the services they should have is what the chamber is all about,” she said.

Contact Brian Beckley at 253-872-6600 ext. 5054 or bbeckley@kentreporter.com

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