By Todd J. Tranum
President and CEO of the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce & Executive Director of the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier
For decades the Chamber of Commerce has helped businesses and their employees access health insurance. Our members have looked to the Chamber to navigate through a multitude of changes that have occurred within the insurance market over the years to provide the best possible options to our members and we continue to work to meet those objectives.
The Affordable Care Act will bring significant changes to the insurance market. Businesses with 50 or fewer employees will see the most dramatic changes as we approach Jan. 1, 2014. New York state will have a public exchange that will serve businesses, sole proprietors and individuals. In addition, there will continue to be health insurance options available outside of the public exchange. There will be a lot of choices to sort through. The Chamber will help you understand your health insurance options both within the exchange and outside of the exchange.
The Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce has been a strong voice in Albany to help develop an overall health insurance market that meets the needs of business and the community. We advocated for choice and affordability and we have been successful. We encouraged development of an exchange that stimulates competition among carriers and we have been successful. We opposed decisions that would have driven up the cost of health insurance for small businesses and we have been successful. We advocated for maintaining a strong and viable insurance market outside of the exchange and we have been successful. We have also advocated on behalf of Chambers and brokers to make sure the state recognizes their historic significance in advising businesses and allows them to continue to be a part of the health insurance distribution system and we have been successful.
In the next few months we will learn more about the culmination of these efforts on behalf of the business community. We are hopeful that employers will still be provided cost-competitive health insurance options. When it comes to health insurance, the bottom line is that the Chamber is watching out for the needs of businesses and we are your resource for information regarding insurance plans.
Here is an opportunity to learn more: The Community Chamber Development Corporation will hold an informational session on the Affordable Care Act, insurance options and more on Aug. 7th at Tom's Restaurant in Hanover. For more information call the Chamber at 366-6200 or 484-1101.
Special Offer from the Peek for Chamber Golfers
Golfers who register for the 2013 Chamber Golf Tournament Aug. 15 at Peek'n Peak will also be able to sleep cheap at the Peek if they choose to spend the night. Peek'n Peak has reserved a block of 10 rooms for registered Chamber golfers at just $99 per room. This special room rate is first come first serve for registered Chamber golfers only. To reserve a room call Peek'n Peak at 355-4141.
This year's Chamber Golf Tournament also gives golfers the choice of playing either a scramble or a two-best ball format so that golfers can enjoy their game, their way. It will be played on the prestigious Upper Course at Peek'n Peak a par 72 course with unique terrain that features panoramic views, great elevation changes, deep sand bunkers and mature woods to create a spectacular atmosphere.
The tournament is sponsored by DFT Communications, Community Bank NA, Cummins, Inc., Fredonia Place, GHD Consulting Engineers, Greater Woodlawn FCU, Lake Shore Savings Bank, Lawley-Tradition LLC, National Fuel Gas, Ed Shults Chevrolet, Inc., the OBSERVER and The Post-Journal. For more information or to register, visit the Chamber website at www.chautauquachamber.org, or call 484-1101 or 366-6200.
Big Prizes in the Aspire/Chamber Event with the Jammers
For the second year in a row, the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce is partnering with Aspire and the Jamestown Jammers to provide a very special event in August. Tickets are on sale now for a chance to win one of two incredible prizes: a weekend getaway to Pittsburgh including tickets to the Sept. 14 Pirates game, or a 60" Vizio LED TV. The weekend trip prize package also includes an overnight VIP stay at any Pittsburgh Red Roof Inn and a $100 Visa gift card. You can purchase raffle tickets at the Chamber office, 512 Falconer Street, Jamestown or at the Aspire office, 140 Mall Blvd., Lakewood. The winner will be drawn at the Jammers game August 2nd. Get your ticket now for a chance to win one of these great prizes!
Comments Still Accepted for NRG Project
The deadline is Aug. 16 for public comments on the repowering of the NRG plant in Dunkirk. The Chamber continues to encourage all local businesses and residents to make their voices heard on behalf of this important project. NRG is the largest single taxpayer in Chautauqua County. The conversion of its coal fired plant to natural gas would create a cleaner, more environmentally friendly plant, would create jobs and would sustain critically important power production in Western New York. The PSC will take written comments, or you can go to their website and enter your comments online. A link to the direct case page can be found on the Chamber's website at www.chautauquachamber.org.
Jamestown Chamber Networking with GI's of Comedy
The GIs of Comedy is a comedic troupe of troops, who have taken their love of their country and brought it to the comedy stage. Their mission is to help heal their fellow soldiers with their comedy. Their show will be Friday, Aug. 2 at the Reg Lenna Civic Center at 5:30 p.m. The Jamestown Community Chamber of Commerce is holding a networking event from 4:00-5:30 p.m. prior to the show. For just $5, you get: VIP reception before the show with access to food service and cash bar, a ticket to the 5:30 p.m. show with preferred VIP seating (the general admission ticket cost is $10, free for veterans with military ID), and a ticket to Aspire/Chamber Day at the Ballpark at Russell E. Diethrick Jr. Park (game time is 7:05pm, after the GI's of Comedy show). This show contains adult material and the event is 18 and over. The GI's of Comedy are sponsored by SKF and the Jamestown Community Chamber of Commerce.