HARTFORD - Responding to the high costs of health care, the Connecticut Chambers of Commerce and the Chamber Insurance Trust have teamed up to form the Connecticut Chamber Healthcare Coalition.
“Members are telling chamber leaders that increasing health care costs are strangling their businesses,” JoAnne Ryan, president of the Connecticut Chambers of Commerce Leadership Council and president of the Northwest Chamber of Commerce in Torrington, said.
There are more than 65 chambers of commerce in Connecticut, serving tens of thousands of members.
For the past five months, meetings have been held at chambers across the state involving business leaders and chamber executives in discussions of the programs companies need.
“The chambers have used our combined member power, working with our health care marketing partner, the Chamber Insurance Trust, … to provide access to quality, affordable health plans for more than two decades,” Ryan said.
“Connecticut health insurers in the past had been eager to create special programs, control rates, in exchange for marketing help and access to our members (but) that is no longer the case, the market has changed and our coalition is a response.”
According to the Chambers of Commerce Leadership Council, the state Department of Insurance has authorized rate increases of as much as 31.7 percent for the individual market this year.
“We are especially concerned that our middle-market companies, with 20 to 500 employees have lost control of their ability to contain costs,” Ryan said.
Candice Corcione, executive director of the Tolland County Chamber of Commerce, said while chambers typically advocate for companies at the state Capitol or organize events to attract business, their priority right now is the rising cost of health care.
“Throughout the state, we have a great network of dedicated board members, chamber executives and employees that are committed to Connecticut businesses. Working together, the coalition will have the tools and member buying power to make a difference, and we will,” she said.