A coalition of 140 suburban Chicago businesses last week launched a healthcare spinoff that will develop an insurance product for small businesses as early as June 1.
Members of the 10-year-old East-West Corporate Corridor Association employ some 150,000 workers in DuPage County, Ill. The group now has formed a healthcare coalition of nine acute-care hospitals, other healthcare providers and DuPage County legislative, education, communications and information interests.
The providers have agreed in principle to offer discounts to the coalition's beneficiaries. Details of the plan haven't been determined.
"The alliance we're creating is exactly what President Clinton and federal healthcare reform is going to look like," said Bonnie Wood, the EWCCA's executive director.
The healthcare coalition's first endeavor is designed to reach underinsured and uninsured people in DuPage County. As the coalition develops more insurance products and alliances, it could tap into a market of 500,000 people, Ms. Wood said.
"The small employer is looking at an insurance product with at least a two-year guarantee," Ms. Wood said. "They're hoping its costs won't rise more than 5% to 7%. That's what we're going to have."
With more than 1,800 acute-care beds, the coalition includes: Central DuPage Hospital, Winfield; Copley Memorial Hospital, Aurora; Edward Hospital, Naperville; Elmhurst (Ill.) Memorial Hospital; Good Samaritan Hospital, Downers Grove; Hinsdale (Ill.) Hospital; and La Grange (Ill.) Memorial Hospital. Other coalition members are Linden Oaks Hospital, a Naperville psychiatric facility, and Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital & Clinics in Wheaton, Ms. Wood said.
The coalition also has formed links with the DuPage County Health Department to work on improving accessibility, quality and cost-effectiveness. The coalition also will tackle issues ranging from workers' compensation to data on healthcare statistics.
"We're different than other Illinois coalitions because we have the larger employers, smaller employers, hospitals and specifically identified committees to work on different issues," Ms. Wood said.-Bruce Japsen