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Chamber leaders gather to discuss benefit programs - Wednesday, 29 October 2008 09:36

From the Bristol Press 10/07/08:

Chamber leaders gather to discuss benefit programs

The Chamber's Leadership Benefit Council recently held its 4th annual meeting. The council is made up of more than 70 Chamber of Commerce executives throughout Connecticut. The council provides access to a variety of benefits for small businesses and organizations, including health care, long-term care, life and disability and 401(k) programs.

The council was started with the support of the Chamber Insurance Trust and Connecticare, Inc. The council provides education and training programs for both chamber staffs and insurance agents and brokers, providing the most up-to-date information. This year's keynote speaker was state Commissioner of Insurance Tom Sullivan.

The commissioner articulated the complexity of small-business health insurance and the need to concentrate on finding access for the 7 to 8 percent of our state that is without health insurance. He indicated the newly founded Charter Oak Program, which provides lower-cost health care options for Connecticut citizens and is not considered health-insurance but more of a hybrid social service program.

The Charter Oak Plan was established by Gov. M. Jodi Rell and has been somewhat successful for many who need health care access.

The commissioner also indicated the sensitivity of the marketplace and the concern for a new state insurance pooling program. This could disrupt the marketplace and might drive up the cost to many of Connecticut's insured who are now covered through the state's small-business community rating regulations. Commissioner Sullivan seems to understand the Connecticut insurance marketplace and he indicated his commitment to working with the chamber and the small-business community on creating solutions to the rising cost and accessibility.

My good friend and mentor, Larry McHugh, president and CEO of the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce, received the Council's Chamber Executive of the Year Award for his 25-year commitment to his Chamber of Commerce and the Middlesex region. Larry continues to be a mentor to many of the state's chamber executives and operates the largest chamber in Connecticut with more than 2,400 members.

Mary Kuharski, who manages the Central Connecticut Benefit Center for our chamber, did a great job putting together the 4th annual Leadership Cabinet Awards Meeting.

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