Expanding Health Care Coverage

Project Title

Small Business Access Health Insurance Initiative

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Expanding Health Care Coverage

Date Awarded

September 9, 2008


Western NY





The Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber of Commerce serves more than 3,200 members with a range of services, including a menu of insurance plans. With a planning grant from the New York Health Foundation’s “Expanding Coverage Options in the Small Group and Individual Market in New York State” program, the Chamber of Commerce conducted market research to determine the health insurance perceptions, preferences, and needs of Tri-Lakes small businesses in Clinton, Essex, Franklin, and northern Warren Counties in New York State.

This grant was one of five organizations that received a planning grant from the 2008 NYHealth request for proposals (RFP), “Expanding Coverage Options in the Small Group and Individual Market in New York State.” The RFP grew directly out of the Foundation’s desire to generate ideas for expanding health insurance options for small businesses and sole proprietors.

Read an NYHealth special report that contains a summary of findings from this RFP.

In this project the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier is developing new and affordable insurance products for small businesses, including sole proprietors and small public sector organizations in Chautauqua County.

Along with partners Chautauqua County Health Network, Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce, Flexcare, and Health Economics Group, Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier is investigating the feasibility of establishing a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) and/or Multiple Employer Wellness Arrangement (MEWA) as a means for bringing lower cost insurance products to small businesses, sole proprietors, and small governmental units in Chautauqua Country. Through the PEO or MEWA approaches, they would aggregate their small business population into one experience-rate, fully insured group. This project has the potential to be replicated by local chambers in other parts of the State.