East Orlando Chamber of Commerce provides members affordable options
By PL JETER
A local chamber of commerce recently unveiled a unique type of healthcare policy new to Florida. The East Orlando Chamber of Commerce (EOCC) is offering group health benefits to its members' employees at a cost as low as $14 a month with no co-pays or deductibles. Coverage extends to the employees' entire household.
Avalon Insurance Services, an Orlando-based firm, administers the benefits program that features no employer liability with finance, payroll or administration. Employers simply offer the option to employees, whether they have healthcare coverage or not.
"As part of our leadership development and community involvement outreach, we were discussing members' needs, and healthcare was all the talk," said Andrew Cole, CEO of EOCC. "Affordable healthcare has been lacking for our members with small- to mid-sized businesses. The healthcare landscape is rapidly changing and somewhat confusing with question marks and changes surrounding Obamacare. Our goal was to create an advantage to help those members retain their employees and attract new ones. We're very happy to have pulled this together as an added benefit to membership."
EOCC members' employees may sign up for group benefit plans as a standalone product or to bridge gaps in existing healthcare coverage. These plans cover telehealth, comprehensive accidents, cancer, specific diseases, catastrophic events and WellCard savings. At the time of the June 1 implementation, EOCC was the only such organization in the state offering this level of affordable healthcare.
"A lot of small businesses can't afford a health benefit plan because they're not eligible," said Cole. "Maybe they don't have enough employees. Or their employees don't work enough hours."
EOOC offers three benefit packages:
Package 1 costs $14 monthly, with services via MDLive Telehealth. The no co-pay plan covers the employees' entire household via a portal that may be accessed by smartphone, tablet or laptop computer. A majority of doctor visits, and roughly 40 percent of urgent care and emergency room visits can be managed online by Florida board-certified physicians.
For example, a young part-time restaurant worker who is too old to qualify for coverage on a parent's healthcare plan would be an ideal candidate for Package 1.
"You can't work in a restaurant if you're sick, and you can't afford to miss work," Cole explained. "An urgent care clinic visit could be up to $150. You'll wait for hours to see a doctor, and then deal with getting a prescription and then picking it up. When you're sick, you don't want to go through all that hassle."
Joseph Filice, owner and president of Avalon Insurance Services, pointed out the benefits for working mothers.
"The next time your child is sick, you don't have to take two hours away from work and take the child out of school, then sit in a doctor's office waiting to get a prescription or amoxicillin," Filice explained. "With this plan, it can all be done in 20 minutes, a prescription is called in, and nobody has to leave work or school."
Package 2 costs $30.40 a month and adds Allstate Accident and WellCard benefits.
The Allstate Accident insurance provides financial support by paying cash benefits directly to the employee. Coverage pays cash benefits that correlate with hospital and intensive care confinement. The plan also covers maladies from simple burns and lacerations to fractures, x-rays, urgent care and ambulance benefits. It also comes with a $20,000 accidental death life insurance policy.
"Let's say you go on telehealth and show the doctor that your finger looks crooked," explained Cole. "He might tell you to go to the emergency room. You'll get reimbursed for that visit."
The WellCard savings plan provides access to value-added, money-saving programs for pharmacies, dental care and vision providers. The plan, with a network of more than 10,000 vision providers alone, provides savings up to 50 percent on dental and vision fees.
At a monthly cost of $58.36, Package 3 adds Allstate Cancer and covers 23 specified diseases for patients aged 18 to 64. The plan pays cash benefits directly to the employee to help with the cost of treatment and expenses and provides additional financial support against exorbitant expenses associated with cancer and other specified diseases. When diagnosed, the employees' assets are protected from out-of-pocket medical expenses and provides funds for access to expert providers and specialized life-saving treatments.
Other health benefits offered through EOCC and Avalon cover critical illness, life insurance and hospital indemnity plans, 100 percent customizable with optional dependent and family coverage.
"We wanted to create options for segments of the population that have typically been overlooked for various reasons," said Filice. "These plans do just that."
Established in 1946, EOCC plans to expand its line of insurance products offered to chamber members, noted Cole.
For more information, call (407) 277-5951 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.