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CHAMBER HEALTH PLAN RATES TO INCREASE AT ABOUT ONE-THIRD OF MARKET AVERAGE

 CHAMBER HEALTH PLAN RATES
 TO INCREASE AT ABOUT ONE-THIRD OF MARKET AVERAGE
 TOLEDO, Ohio, May 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Costs for group health insurance for businesses that are members of the Toledo Area Chamber of Commerce (TACC) health plan will increase by an average of just 7.7 percent for the new rate year beginning July 1, representatives of the Chamber and Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Ohio, announced today.
 That increase is approximately one-third of the average rate increase of more than 22 percent for large commercial insurers offering small-business health plans in the Northern Ohio market, chamber officials said.
 "We are gratified to be able to report this truly modest increase to our members," said Joe Kelly, TACC executive vice president. "This is the first rate increase for our participating member companies since we initiated the plan in January 1991.
 "As area small-business owners know very well, single digit increases are no small feat when compared to rates for small business coverage from commercial insurers that have increased, on average, 20- 25 percent per year," Kelly said. He noted that since 1988, commercial insurance rates for small business in the Northern Ohio market have jumped a total of more than 170 percent.
 "Our primary goals for our members are high quality health care coverage, along with long-term rate predictability and stability," said Kelly. "We are well on the way to achieving those goals."
 In commenting on the rate announcement, John Burry Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Ohio, said, "We are pleased that members of the Toledo Chamber have benefited from the fact that Blue Cross, as a hospital's largest customer, gets their lowest price. By combining favorable, long-term hospital rates with careful underwriting, Chamber members receive the best deal in health insurance for small business today."
 TACC and Blue Cross also announced that they have extended their contractual relationship to provide health insurance to TACC member companies through the year 1995.
 In addition to the nine Blue Cross plan options available to member companies, TACC offers a variety of other benefit options including dental coverage, group life insurance and short-term disability insurance.
 Individual TACC member companies that participate in the health plans will receive information on the exact changes in their insurance rates by June 1.
 -0- 5/19/92
 /CONTACT: Joe Kelly, executive vice president, Toledo Area Chamber of Commerce, 419-243-8191/ CO: Toledo Area Chamber of Commerce ST: Ohio IN: SU:


KK -- CL003 -- 1668 05/19/92 09:05 EDT
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Date:May 19, 1992
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