RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) -
If you work for a small business in Virginia, your employer will soon have new options for health insurance.
The Virginia Chamber of Commerce just announced a new program called the Virginia Benefits Market, which will soon let small business owners give benefits to their employees that bigger companies are known for. The idea is to help small employers compete with big companies.
Barry DuVal with the Virginia Chamber of Commerce says the time is right for small businesses to have a bigger voice in the health care market.
"We think that the same amount of choices available for bigger companies in Virginia should be available for smaller companies in Virginia," he says.
The Benefits Market is a partnership between the state and Chamber Solutions, a co-op that already provides insurance for 20,000 small business employees in Virginia.
"This will provide a platform for small businesses to offer to their employees a chance to select from a variety of insurance and other benefits that they can choose from," DuVal says.
Over the last year, small business in Virginia have not been able to access that same federal exchange we have when signing up for the Affordable Care Act. This new exchange will help give those employees a shot at some of those benefits.
Right now, there are 14,000 small businesses in the commonwealth with less than 10 employees that can only offer limited benefits.
Through the private exchange, a small employer can list an amount they'll cover and let the employee pick up the rest.
"We see the future being different than the past and there are a lot of changes in healthcare coming," DuVal says.
The Virginia Chamber of Commerce is now one of 12 state chambers to start offering this service. The chamber hopes to have this up and running by the end of the year.