Chamber selects a healthy option
For the last 10 years, Marianne Virgili has been working to keep Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association members and their employees healthy.On Wednesday, Virgili and other Roaring Fork Valley Community Health Plan (RFVCHP) members announced their prescription for better health care.During a press conference at the Hotel Colorado, Brad O’Neill, vice president of Van Gilder Insurance Corporation and RFVCHP development consultant, announced that Aetna has been chosen as the insurance carrier for RFVCHP’s 16 new health plan designs. In line with goals of local chambers of commerce, the plans are customized for small-to-large employers in the Roaring Fork and Eagle valleys.”This is truly a chamber of commerce health plan,” O’Neill said. “It’s unique to the state of Colorado.”As part of the agreement, members of the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association, Aspen Chamber Resort Association, Basalt Chamber of Commerce, Carbondale Chamber of Commerce, Eagle Valley Chamber of Commerce, and Rifle Chamber of Commerce will see five percent discounts on employee health care plans.”Five percent savings on a group plan can be substantial,” said Virgili, president of the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association.Jeff Miller, market head for sales and service in Colorado for Aetna, said his company is committed to helping local communities tackle health care issues that leave many Coloradans uninsured or underinsured. According to O’Neill, 15 percent of Roaring Fork residents are uninsured.”We really do view health care as a local issue,” Miller said. “Aetna in Colorado has recently made some substantial investments, including acquisition of Sloans Lake PPO network, that offer PPO networks throughout the state. We are a national company, but we look at local issues.”Along with the Aetna plan, the RFVCHP announced its agreement with consumer health care company Ben-e-lect. The company’s services include helping businesses manage health savings accounts, providing tax advantage advice, and promoting healthy workforce lifestyles. “Ben-e-lect is an innovative idea – it’s all over California right now,” said Keli Childs, Ben-e-lect regional sales manager for Colorado. “With the chambers, we have been able to reduce the ($500) membership fee by 50 percent.”O’Neill described the pairing of Aetna and Ben-e-lect with valley chambers as a “powerful one-two punch” for business members. Virgili said the partnership is especially powerful for small businesses competing with large corporations.”It’s harder to retain employees because there’s so much competition in the valley,” she said. “This offers a more cost-effective way for employers to offer benefits to keep employees happy.” Contact April Clark: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or email@example.com