Column by Fred Morgan, President & CEO of the State Chamber, published in the Journal Record on December 7, 2018
In late 2017, the Trump administration issued an executive order directing the U.S. Department of Labor to promulgate rules to encourage and facilitate the creation of association health plans. Recognizing the potential benefits to our small business members and their employees, the State Chamber began working to develop a plan.
AHPs allow small businesses to band together by geography or industry to obtain health care coverage as if they were a single large employer. The benefits a large risk pool can access have been out of reach for small employers, but under the Trump administration, AHPs will give small employers access to greater economies of scale.
Access to affordable health care for employees and their families is one of small businesses’ most pressing needs. The State Chamber of Oklahoma continues to advocate not only for affordable health care for businesses, but also for easily accessible health care. Earlier this fall, we announced the launch of our new association health plan, Oklahoma Chamber Blue. As a membership organization, we are excited to be able to offer our members a new benefit that provides small businesses additional options to consider in the health insurance arena. The Oklahoma Chamber Blue program provides State Chamber members with two to 50 employees in all 77 counties access to affordable group health insurance coverage.
Beginning Jan. 1, Oklahoma Chamber Blue will offer affordable group health insurance options through our partner, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma, the state’s largest health insurance provider. With Oklahoma Chamber Blue, businesses and their employees can choose the right health care plan, priced within their budget, with the physicians and other health care providers they trust. The eight medical plans and dental and vision plan offerings cover pre-existing conditions and essential health benefits with affordable copays.
Benefit coverage options include medical, dental and vision plans, and coverage can begin as soon as Jan. 1 if you enroll by Dec. 14.
Expanding access to health care for businesses and their employees continues to be a priority of the State Chamber. More people with access to health care results in a healthier and more productive workforce for Oklahoma. We are proud to partner with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma on Oklahoma Chamber Blue and look forward to helping improve the health of hardworking Oklahomans.