the Greater Memphis Chamber announced it is partnering with UnitedHealthcare to offer level-funded insurance benefit plans to its members.

For even the largest of businesses, the costs of providing health care coverage can be formidable. However, for small businesses, the costs can be crippling. 

To help these employers – and their employees – stay healthy, the Greater Memphis Chamber announced it is partnering with UnitedHealthcare to offer level-funded insurance benefit plans to its members.

The partnership was announced on Wednesday. 

“Even before the pandemic, the rising cost of health care was a major hurdle to their survival and success,” said Rob Becker, Chamber Benefits Inc. president.

“Our hope is that the coverage option we are announcing today will give them a competitive edge, making our city stronger and more resilient to challenges, like the pandemic.”

According to 2021 U.S. Census data, 15.5 percent of Memphians 65-under are uninsured.

Through the level funding plan, business owners will pay the same amount for their employee’s health care each month. If claims are lower than expected, they may receive a surplus at the end of the year.

There could also be an additional 2 percent savings. Depending on the size of the business and other factors, it could result in thousands of dollars in savings per year. 

Another benefit will encourage employees and their spouses to use a motion device to track their steps. If certain daily goals are met, they could each be rewarded with up to $1,000 in HSA contributions.

The plan is open to members with 5-99 employees.

“If their claims are higher than expected, the stop-loss insurance, that’s already built into their payments, will cover the difference,” said Chamber President and CEO Beverly Robertson.

“This offering is expanding the Chamber’s support for small businesses with a benefit that has proven to be extremely popular with small business members in the past, which are discounted health benefits for small businesses.”

The Memphis Chamber is the first community branch in Tennessee to offer the benefit. 

There are currently more than 20,000 small businesses in Memphis alone. And more and more are entering the local market every year. A Lending Tree survey ranked Memphis No. 1 among large American cities to show an increase in business applications in 2019-20, with an increase of nearly 78 percent. 

“More than 90 percent of chamber members are indeed small businesses,” Robertson said. “As we talk(ed) with small business leaders over the last couple of years, we have heard over and over and over again that providing health benefits for employees is one of the biggest challenges small businesses face.”

The hope is the level-funded benefit will provide enough flexibility for small businesses to meet those challenges and thrive.

“Through this relationship with the Memphis Chamber, our hope is that employers can not only save on their health care benefits, but will also have the insight they need to provide the right benefit for their employees,” said Steve Wilson, UnitedHealthcare of the MidSouth CEO.

“This can help them play a more active role in their health care and save on out-of-pocket costs.”