After a highly competitive procurement process, the Community Service Society of New York (CSS) is announcing close to a million dollars in grant awards to 16 business-serving groups to help small businesses in their communities with health care and health insurance problems. CSS received bids from 36 groups seeking to join its Small Business Assistance Program (SBAP). SBAP’s statewide expansion is made possible through generous funding from the New York State Health Foundation.
In March 2010, the federal health reform bill, known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), was enacted. Under the ACA, states can set up health insurance exchanges, or marketplaces, where individuals and small businesses can shop for and enroll into health coverage. To help ensure that the New York Health Benefit Exchange best meets the needs of New York’s employers and employees, CSS launched the Small Business Assistance Program to educate small businesses about the health reform law, address their current insurance coverage needs, and help inform the design and development of the Exchange.
“This program is the first of its kind in the country to target and support small businesses as they make their way through the bewildering morass of our health care system” said David R. Jones, President and CEO of The Community Service Society. “New York’s small businesses now have an advocate on their side.”
“Small businesses will be a linchpin of health reform’s success in New York State,” said James R. Knickman, President and CEO of the New York State Health Foundation. “Making the most of the ACA’s potential for expanding coverage to 1.2 million more New Yorkers will require intensive outreach, education, and assistance through a strong network of trusted messengers and informed assisters like those participating in the SBAP.”
The 16 groups funded by the New York State Health Foundation will join SBAP’s existing network of 18 business serving organizations. These 34 SBAP organizations provide education and assistance to small businesses on topics including: the availability of small business ACA tax credits; health insurance and care options for small businesses and their employees; how to understand and comment upon proposed insurance rate increases under New York’s new prior approval law; and the upcoming New York Health Benefit Exchange.
The grantees are as follows:
- Actors Fund
- Business Council of Westchester
- Business Services at LaGuardia Community College
- Community Development Corporation of Long Island
- Cornell University Cooperative Extension of Rensselaer County
- Greater Olean Chamber of Commerce
- Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce
- Guilderland Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Colonie Chamber of Commerce and Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce
- Manhattan Chamber of Commerce
- Small Business Development Center at Binghamton University
- Small Business Development Center at Jamestown Community College
- Small Business Development Center at University at Albany
- S2AY Rural Health Network