Minnesota Chamber rolls out health insurance plan for members

The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce is returning to the health insurance business.

On Thursday, the chamber announced that it is partnering with Minnetonka-based insurer Medica to offer health insurance plans to small and medium-sized businesses. Known as ChamberHealth by Medica, the offer is for chamber members only and is limited to companies in certain industries: manufacturing, finance and insurance, and professional, scientific and technical services.

Vicki Stute, the chamber’s vice president of business programs and services, described the offer as an “association health plan.” It is basically a plan that meets a specific industry classification. “Individual employers are then grouped together to create a larger group health plan,” Stute said. “By consolidating these employers into one program, you are able to reduce costs and provide special features that are typically only available to larger employers.”

The chamber acts as the plan’s sponsor and will take care of general administrative tasks such as premium collection, she said.

Stute said small businesses across the state have been asking the chamber for a health insurance option for some time. “They recognize that they need to offer competitive employee benefits and believe that health insurance is key to their success,” she said. This is especially true as they compete for talent with Fortune 500 companies in the state.

It has been many years since the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce offered health insurance to its members. Stute said the organization hasn’t done this since around the 1980s. But the chamber offers a host of other insurance options, including life insurance, short- and long-term disability, vision, and dental coverage. Stute noted that the chamber had offered a form of insurance since 1943.

The new health plan is limited to companies that employ between 2 and 300 people.

Stute said the chamber would like to offer the plan to companies in other industries, but state statutes prohibit it. “Minnesota doesn’t allow developing a plan across multiple industries; it has to be industry specific,” she said.

The new chamber health insurance plan will come into effect on January 1, 2023.

“We are delighted to extend our insurance solutions to our member companies. This particular ChamberHealth by Medica program is really the first step,” Stute said.

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