Las Vegas Chamber shifts health insurance strategy

The Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce has a new battle plan in its fight to keep members insured. Mandates in the Affordable Care Act are forcing the chamber to surrender its group-health policies. In their place, the association will launch a private health insurance exchange for its 5,000 members. Chamber Health Options is scheduled to go live midmonth as perhaps the first — but probably not the last — private exchange for a business organization based in the Silver State. “Part of our mission is to help our members not only do business with each other, but to have access to resources that are reliable, affordable and helpful to them,” chamber President and CEO Kristin McMillan said. “This (health insurance) has been an integral benefit to what we do at the chamber, and we needed to take this new environment we’re facing and find a way to continue to provide these services.” The chamber’s new online marketplace isn’t just a bid to keep health care benefits on which thousands of members rely. It’s also an alternative to Nevada Health Link, which continues to face technical glitches in coverage and billing. “It absolutely puts us in competition with the (state) exchange,” said Bill Wright, president of Chamber Insurance and Benefits, the firm that administers the group’s health plans. The chamber is the first local professional association in Nevada to launch a major insurance exchange, Wright said. “We’re really breaking new ground,” Wright said. “We’re leaders in what should be a trend in Nevada.”