Rockford Health Council seeks bids for small business health plan
The Health Councils Access to Medical Care Team has completed work on a new health benefit plan to offer to eligible small business owners in Winnebago County and is seeking bids from insurance companies. The 1999 Rockford Healthy Community Study, compiled by Health Systems Research, documented lack of insurance as a major issue in the Rockford area.
The new plan was crafted with the help of the Illinois Department of Insurance and project consultants from Health Management Associates of Chicago. Development costs are being funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Janet Corirossi of the Winnebago County Medical Society and Johanna Lund, Ph.D., of Health Care Consultants, Inc. co-chair the development process.
The Request for Proposals notice was released on June 14, 2002 to 13 prospective bidders. The new health benefit plan envisions offering basic health insurance coverage to small businesses in Winnebago County that employ between three and 25 workers. To be eligible for the plan, which should be priced for this market, firms must not have offered health insurance for 12 months prior to enrolling and must have a work force with a median wage of not more than $12 per hour.
The plan will feature a one-third monthly premium subsidy, which is designed to keep out-of-pocket premium costs low for both employers and employees of small companies. Our recent survey of 4,700 employers revealed that nearly half of all small companies in Winnebago County are not presently able to offer employer-based health insurance primarily due to high premium costs. For those that do offer insurance, premium costs increased an average of 26% last year alone.
If successfully developed, this plan will be a first for Illinois. Congressman Don Manzullo has secured a Small Business Administration grant to provide the premium subsidy for the first year of operation. We hope to launch the plan by December 1, 2002.
For more information, or to receive an RFP packet, contact the Rockford Health Council at 395-5701 or visit our website: www.rockfordhealth.org