|By Marketwire .||
|September 24, 2012 01:06 PM EDT||
CHICAGO, IL -- (Marketwire) -- 09/24/12 -- After attaining authorization for health care cooperatives in Illinois to stabilize health care costs for small business, the Small Business Advocacy Council (SBAC) and SimpleHx, along with the Coalition for Cooperatives, are now seeking approval for a federal loan to fund the cooperative.
The Affordable Care Act creates a program to help create new, private nonprofit health insurers, called Consumer Oriented and Operated Plans, or "CO-OPs." The CO-OP program offers low-interest loans to eligible private, nonprofit groups to help set up and maintain health plans. CO-OPs are directed by their customers and designed to offer individuals and small businesses additional affordable, consumer-friendly and high-quality health insurance options.
"The cost of health insurance is debilitating for small business owners, and as a result, many small businesses cannot afford to provide health insurance for their employees," said Elliot Richardson, SBAC President. "For the sake of our business owners, their employees and the Illinois economy, we need a health insurance cooperative that is governed by small business owners and operated by medical and insurance professionals dedicated to stabilizing insurance costs."
Representatives from the SBAC and SimpleHx, a group made up of doctors, surgeons and business leaders, recently presented their vision for an Illinois Health Insurance Cooperative and requested a startup loan in order to operate and maintain adequate reserves. The groups were recently asked to resubmit the application with additional information, and will resubmit by the October 1, 2012 deadline.
The SBAC is a non-partisan, member driven organization that promotes the success of small business through political advocacy, support services and educational programs. The group was established in 2010 and currently represents over 550 businesses in the Chicagoland area.
"As a leading consultant to small businesses, the number one issue they raise is the unpredictable annual increases passed on to them from the current insurance carriers," said Ken Olson, Division President of Horton Insurance. "The timing is now perfect for a new model in Illinois." Horton Insurance has played a major role in bringing a cooperative to Illinois.
The SBAC launched the Coalition for Cooperatives, made up of business and consumer organizations across Illinois, to promote small business support of health cooperatives across the state. Current coalition members include:
- The Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce
- The Batavia Chamber of Commerce
- The Big Ooga
- eWomenNetwork Chicagoland
- The Greater O'Hare Association
- The Hanover Chamber of Commerce
- The Highland Park Chamber of Commerce
- Illinois PIRG
- The Industrial Council of Nearwest Chicago
- Jewish B2B Networking
- The Lake County Chamber of Commerce
- Lake Kinzie Industrial Business Council
- The Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce
- Local First Chicago
- The Niles Chamber of Commerce
- The Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce
- Riverbend Growth Association
- The Skokie Chamber of Commerce
- The Southland Chamber of Commerce
- Western DuPage Chamber of Commerce
"As a small business owner for over 15 years, I've seen my insurance rates increase exponentially year after year with little explanation," said Steve Banke, SBAC Health Care Committee Chair and owner of 3-Points, a technology company in the Chicagoland area. "Health care CO-OPs provide an excellent opportunity for small businesses to control health care costs while lowering operating costs and encouraging economic growth."