June 8, 2012 | last updated June 8, 2012 1:11 pm

Chambers Prepare For Return Of Health Insurance Discounts

Central Massachusetts chambers of commerce are spreading the word to members that health insurance discounts, once a big draw for the organizations, will be returning.

On Thursday, chambers including Worcester Regional, Corridor Nine, Blackstone Valley and Marlborough Regional, announced that member businesses with 50 or fewer employees who work at least 30 hours a week can buy discounted health insurance through the Chamber Health Co-op.

The new program harkens back to the days before the state's health care law went into effect in 2006 and eliminated chambers' abilities to continue to offer the discounts. Some chambers have said membership numbers decreased as a result of the cut.

The new program, offered by the Massachusetts Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, gives Central Massachusetts members coverage options through Fallon Community Health Plan and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care at a 3-percent discount.

The chambers said what was called a "modest membership fee" to participate could bring businesses hundreds or thousands of dollars in savings annually.

The Chamber Health Co-op also provides a health and wellness program for employees at no extra cost.

Enrollment opens in late June for coverage that can begin as soon as Aug. 1.

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net.

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