Central Susquehanna Community Foundation Showcases its Work at Final Business After Hours of 2018

Jennifer Rempe (center) of WVIA was the winner of a drawing for a $250 donation to the charity of her choice for attending the November Business After Hours at the Central Susquehanna Community Foundation. Presenting her with the check is Holly Morrison (right), president and CEO of the CSCF At left is Fred Gaffney, president of the Columbia Montour Chamber.

The Central Susquehanna Community Foundation gave attendees a brief education about community foundations in general as well as its work over the last 20 years as it hosted the final Chamber Business After Hours of the year back on Nov. 14 at its Berwick headquarters. In addition to learning more about the CSCF’s work and about the history and work of community foundations in general, attendees were able enjoy some delicious food from Lucy’s Kitchen & Catering, as well as beer from Berwick Brewing and local wine.

Members also had an opportunity to take part in a fun educational activity that allowed them to learn a little bit about community foundations and the CSCF while also having an opportunity to win a $250 donation to a charity of their choice. Each attendees picked up a four-question quiz on the way in, with the answers all scattered in clues throughout the building (answers to the quiz are noted below). All submitted quizes, whether they had the correct answers or not, were then entered into a drawing for the $250 donation prize. The winner was Jennifer Rempe of WVIA, who elected to make the donation to DJ Choices, a unique educational program that promotes opiate addiction awareness among students, parents and communities through school assembly programs and other forums and channels. 

Business After Hours provide regular opportunities to build business relationships while learning about the services offered by other Chamber members. The next Business After Hours will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 30 at a location TBD. The first two Business After Hours of 2019 will be announced within the next week, while the remainder Business After Hours schedule for 2019 will be announced by the end of the month. 

Answers to quiz questions:

1. George H.W. Bush created Community Foundation Week, November 12-18, in 1989 to recognize the work of community foundations throughout America and their collaborative approach to working with the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

2. Central Susquehanna Community Foundation is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year!

3. In 2017, the Foundation awarded $2.7 million in grants across our 5 ½ county footprint, through the 250+ funds we administer.

4. Name a board member you know! Our regional CSCF Board of Directors are: John Parker, Chair; Timothy Apple, Vice-Chair; JoAnn Ferentz, Treasurer; Nancy J. Marr, Secretary; Robert L. Albertson, O.D.; Sam Balukoff; Jeff Cerminaro; Paul R. Eyerly, IV; Peggy Fullmer; John M. Kurelja, Ed.D.; Heather H. Rowe; Rhonda Seebold; J. Donald Steele, Jr.; Connie Tressler; and, Wendy Tripoli.

Benefits Insight: 2018 Employer Health Benefits Survey Summary

From ChamberChoice

Each year, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust conducts a survey to examine employer-sponsored health benefit trends. This summary reviews the main points of the 2018 survey and suggests how they could affect employers.

Health Insurance Premiums
In 2018, the average premium rose 3 percent for single coverage and 5 percent for family coverage. The average premiums were $6,896 and $19,616, respectively. 

However, premiums for high deductible health plans with a savings option (HDHP/SOs) were noticeably lower than the average premiums. HDHP/SOs annual premiums for single and family coverage were $6,495 and $18,602, respectively.

The premium for family coverage was, on average, lower at small employers (three to 199 employees) than at large employers—$18,739 compared to $19,972. Yet, premium costs varied widely across industry and regions in 2018.

Worker Contributions
The average worker contribution toward the premium was 18 percent for single coverage and 29 percent for family coverage. Although, employees at organizations with a high percentage of lower-wage workers (where 35 percent make $25,000 or less annually) made above average contributions—24 percent and 42 percent of the premium for single coverage and family coverage, respectively.

In terms of dollar amounts, workers contributed $1,186 and $5,711 toward their premiums for single coverage and family coverage, respectively. Workers enrolled in HDHP/SOs contributed less on average, paying $1,074 for single coverage and $4,631 for family coverage.

Plan Enrollment
The following were the most common plan types in 2018:

– Preferred provider organizations (PPOs)—49 percent of workers covered

– HDHP/SOs—29 percent of workers covered

– Health maintenance organizations (HMOs)—16 percent of workers covered

– Point-of-service (POS) plans—6 percent of workers covered

– Indemnity plans—under 1 percent

PPO enrollment has decreased by 8 percent over the last five years, and enrollment in HDHP/SOs has risen by 9 percent over the same period.

Employee Cost Sharing
Most workers must pay a share of their health care costs, and 85 percent had a general annual deductible for single coverage in 2018. Fifty-eight percent of workers had a deductible of $1,000 or more for single coverage. The average deductible for all workers was $1,350. The prevalence of HDHP/SOs has contributed to the increase of deductible amounts.

Even without a deductible, the vast majority of workers cover some portion of the costs from their in-network physician visits. For instance, 66 percent have a copayment for primary doctor visits and 24 percent have coinsurance.

Nearly all workers are covered by a plan with an out-of-pocket maximum (OOPM), but the costs vary considerably. Fourteen percent of workers with single coverage have an OOPM of less than $2,000, and 20 percent have an OOPM of $6,000 or more.

Availability of Employer-sponsored Coverage
Similar to the last few years, employers offer health benefits to at least some workers. Only 47 percent of very small employers (three to nine employees) offer benefits, while virtually every large employer (1,000 or more employees) offers coverage.

Health and Wellness Promotion Programs
Wellness programs help employees improve their lifestyles and avoid unhealthy habits. Small and large employers both offer wellness programs, with 53 percent of small employers and 82 percent of large employers offering at least one. Of these large employers, 35 percent offer participation incentives like gift cards or merchandise. Programs vary in topic and include subjects like smoking cessation, weight management and lifestyle coaching.

Over half of large employers have embraced telemedicine, with 74 percent offering health care services through this method. Of these employers, 39 percent offer financial incentives to receive health care services this way, opposed to an in-person physician visit.

Similar to the previous year, 13 percent of workers with small employers are elected in plans either partially or entirely self-funded, compared to 81 percent of workers with large employers. Despite conversations about insurers offering more self-funded plans to small employers, there has not been a noticeable increase in their enrollment.

In the past few years, level-funded plans have become more popular. Level-funded plans are health plans provided by insurers that include a nominally self-funded option for small or mid-sized employers that incorporates stop-loss insurance with relatively low attachment points. Of the employers with fewer than 200 workers, 6 percent reported that they had a level-funded plan, or nearly one-third of the respondents who said they had a self-funded plan.

This year continues a period of a stable market, characterized by relatively low-cost growth for employer-sponsored coverage. While premium growth continues to exceed earnings and inflation increases, the differences are moderately small. Additionally, while there have been some changes in terms of employer-sponsored health benefits, no trends have gained significant traction. 

The recent trend of raising deductibles to offset premium increases is popular, but its growth has slowed. A reason for the slowed growth is that health benefits are a highly effective attraction and retention tool, especially in a strong economy and tight labor market, and employers want to recruit and retain top talent.

Looking forward, employers should begin to identify tools and resources they can use to offset higher premium growth. As costs continue to rise, the individual mandate repeal takes effect and possible political changes ensue, employers and employees may begin to see increased market movement.

For more information on benefit offerings or on what you can do to control your health care costs, contact JRG Advisors, LLC today by email or call 1-800-377-3539. Access to the benefits advisors at JRG is provided at no cost to all Chamber members through the ChamberChoice program. 

Member News – December 5, 2018

Member News

  • The dealerships of the Ken Pollock Auto Group are currently holding their annual coat drive through Dec. 18 at all of its dealerships through northeastern Pennsylvania, including Ken Pollock Ford Lincoln in Berwick, located at 1120 West Front St. (Rt. 11). Those interested in making a donation can drop off new or slightly used coats of all sizes for both men and women, and the donations will be given to the Columbia County Head Start


  • NEPIRC will conduct a free leadership training seminar titled “Leadership Development Essentials” on Thursday, Dec. 6, from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. at the Central Susquehanna Community Foundation, located at 725 West Front St. (Rt. 11) in Berwick. This program is intended to help individuals become stronger, more impactful leaders. While joining other managers and supervisors to discuss workplace challenges, attendees will explore topics that include self-awareness, power & authority, risk & failure and leadership style. Using self-assessment tools and experiential learning, attendees will examine their strengths and weaknesses while exploring best practices of exceptional leaders. Register via the NEPIRC event website


  • Wild For Salmon will host a holiday tasting event at its retail store on 521 Montour Blvd. (Rt. 11) in Bloomsburg on Saturday, Dec. 8, from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. There is no cost to attend. Much like its other public tasting events throughout the year, this event will feature some dishes specially prepared by Wild For Salmon’s in-house chef featuring salmon and other seafood for attendees to taste, only this time, there will be a winter and holiday theme to the menu selections. 


  • North Shore Railroad will once again host the NARCOA Speeders for its 15th annual Toys for Tots drive. The mini cars will travel up and down the railroad tracks from North Shore’s headquarters in Northumberland through Berwick and back on Saturday, Dec. 8, beginning at 8 a.m. in Northumberland. Anyone is welcome to come alongside the railroad tracks to meet the speeder drivers and hand them a new, unwrapped toy for the drive. The speeders are scheduled to arrive in Danville at the Middle School at 9 a.m., Rupert at 10 a.m., Bloomsburg at 10:30 a.m., and Berwick at 12:30 p.m. If unable to meet the speeders on this date, but if interested in making a donation to the toy drive, donations can be dropped off at the North Shore office, located at 356 Priestley Ave., Northumberland, by Friday, Dec. 7. For more information, check out the Facebook event


  • HR4ALL will hold a free luncheon and executive briefing on affordable healthcare options and human resources consulting services on Thursday, Dec. 13, from 12-12:45 p.m., at the Farrington Place, located at 416 W. 3rd St., Williamsport. This event will feature a trio of strategic partners, including HR4ALL, a professional human resources expertise consultant, speaking about a group of small and medium-sized businesses getting together to pool resources that will hopefully enable them to access less expensive, self-funded health plans in the future. For more information, call 570-592-0518, or see the event flyer at right, and to RSVP, text HR4ALL to 555888. 

Welcome Aggressive Realty

More than 400 businesses and organizations belong to the Chamber to receive benefits and support efforts to strengthen their businesses and our region. Increased membership allows us to offer additional programs and benefits, have a stronger voice in advocacy and be involved in more activities and initiatives in our communities. The Chamber welcomes its newest member, Aggressive Realty, to help us fulfill our mission. 

Aggressive Realty is a new real estate agency founded earlier this year by local veteran realtors Marc Nespoli and Rebecca Turner. Aggressive Realty is passionate about its clients’ goals and aims to treat each client as if they were its only one. It primarily serves the greater Berwick, Bloomsburg and Danville communities, as well as Benton, Catawissa, Lewisburg and Millville. Located at 157 West Main St., Bloomsburg, Aggressive Realty can be reached at 570-213-4245, by email, or visit its website or Facebook page

Welcome Bloomsburg Music Therapy

More than 400 businesses and organizations belong to the Chamber to receive benefits and support efforts to strengthen their businesses and our region. Increased membership allows us to offer additional programs and benefits, have a stronger voice in advocacy and be involved in more activities and initiatives in our communities. The Chamber welcomes its newest member, Bloomsburg Music Therapy, to help us fulfill our mission. 

Bloomsburg Music Therapy is a new business owned by Alysha Suley, a Bloomsburg resident and board certified music therapist by the Certification Board for Music Therapists. Music Therapy is the use music interventions by a trained professional to maximize quality of life through improvement in cognitive, emotional, social, behavioral, or physical functioning, the restoration of lost abilities, or by maintaining current abilities. Services provided by Bloomsburg Music Therapy include therapy assessment, individual or group music therapy, as well as participation in wellness events aimed at stress relief, care for the caregivers and burnout prevention. Bloomsburg Music Therapy can be reached at 570-316-1899 or visit its website or Facebook page.