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SOCA Benefit Plan

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The Southern Ohio Chamber Alliance has joined forces with the Northern Ohio Area Chambers of Commerce, the Central Ohio Chambers of Commerce, the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber to form a self-funded medical benefit plan aimed at small employers with 2 to 50 employees.
The SOCA Benefit Plan (hereafter, the Plan) is a multiple employer welfare arrangement. Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield provides claims administration and stop loss protection. Participating employers are required to maintain membership with a Chamber of Commerce that is authorized to offer the Plan. Initially, distribution of the Plan is limited to Anthem Champion and Elite brokers who have completed specified training. The Plan is governed by a Board of Trustees elected by participating employers.
The authorization from the ODI comes after nearly three years of vetting the idea and planning among various partners, according to Matt Appenzeller, Executive Director for SOCA. "This is a great example of Chambers of Commerce and our partners throughout Ohio coming together for a common goal of providing value to the business community," he said. "We have great partners. I think we're all pretty excited to get started." The SOCA Benefit Plan will be offered through approximately 250 Chambers of Commerce initially.
Additional details regarding the Plan will be disseminated in the coming months through SOCA, qualified Chambers of Commerce, and brokers who are certified to sell the Plan.

FAQ's

The health insurance industry has undergone many regulatory changes in the past several years, some of which have forced companies to have to change their health plans and pay substantially higher premiums. To help companies struggling with such changes, the Southern Ohio Chamber Alliance (SOCA) has created a new health insurance program called the SOCA Benefit Plan (SOCA BP). The SOCA BP is a self-funded multiple employer welfare arrangement (MEWA) designed specifically for Chamber of Commerce members. The SOCA BP presents an innovative alternative to the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The Southern Ohio Chamber Alliance has chosen Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s top (“Champion” and “Elite”) brokers to bring this new health plan to market. Our member companies can expect the highest quality of service and dedication while receiving valuable advice on a wide variety of comprehensive insurance products designed to meet the needs of Chamber of Commerce members.
  • Is the SOCA BP permitted by the ACA?
  • How is the SOCA BP different from the ACA?
  • What is the best insurance option for my company – SOCA BP or an ACA plan?
  • Do I need to be a member of a SOCA Chamber of Commerce to participate in the SOCA BP?
  • Do I have to switch doctors?
  • What is the monthly contribution rate for my company’s coverage under the SOCA BP?
  • Why should I consider the SOCA BP now?
  • If I leave my current plan (including an ACA plan), will I be subject to pre-existing condition limitations?
  • Can my company withdraw from the SOCA BP at any time?
  • Does the SOCA BP provide the employer with a Summary Plan Description (SPD)?
  • What is the SOCA BP’s legal structure?
  • What government entities oversee the financial operation of the SOCA BP?
Yes. The SOCA BP is a self-funded option allowed under the ACA.

Unlike the current ACA structure, the SOCA BP:

  • is a self-funded plan
  • offers a variety of plan designs that meet the minimum essential coverage requirements, including: four PPO and three HSA options, utilizing the Anthem Blue Access PPO Network and National Rx Formulary
  • is an alternative to comparable options under the ACA
  • will allow changes in benefits and contribution rates at renewal, without being “locked in” by the grandfathered status 
Anthem Champion and Elite brokers will help you understand all of your options and help you choose the best benefit option for your company’s unique needs.
Yes, you need to be a chamber member in good standing to participate in the SOCA BP.
The SOCA BP uses Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s health care provider network – one of the largest provider networks in the state. You should, however, always check to make sure doctors are in-network prior to any service using the “Find a Doctor” tool (to which you’ll find a link under the “Useful Tools” section at that right) on anthem.com (https://www.anthem.com/health-insurance/provider-directory/searchcriteria).
Each group will have a monthly contribution based on a variety of factors including but not limited to your members’:
  • Medical History
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Location 
Due to the constant evolution of the ACA and the uncertainty of future premiums, many groups will be able to experience a competitive rate that may not be available through Ohio’s ACA Marketplace. Anthem Champion and Elite brokers will provide you an easy-to-Understand comparison between the ACA plans and the SOCA BP.
No. There are no pre-existing condition limitations.
Members may elect to withdraw from participation in the plan at the end of a calendar month by giving written notice to the plan at least thirty (30) days prior to the end of that month.
Yes. We provide each employer with an SPD for the SOCA BP that meets ERISA compliance regulations. (All employers are responsible for providing SPDs for all of their health and welfare benefits.)
The SOCA BP is technically known as a multiple employer welfare arrangement (MEWA). A MEWA provides health and welfare benefits to employees of two or more employers who pool their contributions, enabling them to offer contribution rates and benefits that are typically available only to larger groups
The Ohio Department of Insurance and several federal government agencies coordinate the oversight and regulation of the SOCA BP.The multi-jurisdiction gives the State of Ohio’s Department of Insurance primary responsibility for overseeing the financial soundness of the SOCA BP, while the U.S. Department of Labor provides oversight for employee benefit plans, and the Internal Revenue Service ensure the nonprofit status of the SOCA BP.

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