Save Money on Your Home Electricity

Chamber member employees, friends and family members have access to a residential energy program to save money on home electric bills. Through the Chamber’s partnership with ChamberChoice and OnDemand Energy, a low, fixed rate on home electric generation is available. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to save money on your electric bill while also having a chance to win a year of free electric generation.

Through this special offer, you and your friends and family members can enroll with FirstEnergy Solutions to receive an exclusive price on your electric generation, which can lead to savings on your monthly electric bills. And anyone who enrolls in this offer between now and December 31, 2013, will be entered into a drawing to win free electric generation for a year.

Just like at your business, residents can choose their electricity supplier. PPL is still responsible for the distribution of electricity to homes and businesses including restoring power during an outage. The Chamber’s energy program with OnDemand was developed to help businesses and residents save money without a lot of hassle by finding the best rate among dozens of suppliers serving Pennsylvania.

Currently, the PPL price to compare is 8.37 cents per kilowatt hour. The price being offered through this promotion is 7.45 cents per kilowatt hour through June of 2016. It is easy to enroll online at www.fes.com/PAChamberChoice or by calling 1-866-699-9968 and asking for the ChamberChoice Friends and Family Program. The new rates will take effect in approximately 45 days.

The website also has a list of Frequently Asked Questions about the program. One of the most common questions is about cancellation fees. There are no fees if you move. However, if you choose to leave the program early for any other reason, there is a $25 cancellation fee. The average home will realize this amount in savings in a month or two.

Don’t miss out on this great rate and the chance to get a year of free electric generation. Sign up online today and share the information with your employees, family and friends.

CareerLink in Bloomsburg Expands Hours

Earlier this year the PA CareerLink of Columbia/Montour Counties relocated to 415 Central Road in Bloomsburg. With the move, the hours of the career resource center for jobseekers and UC recipients were reduced. Recently, some of those hours of access were restored. The CareerLink is open to the public Monday and Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Office staff are available daily from 8:30 to 4:30 to assist employers and the center is also available by appointment and for worker training programs.

Meeting the Health Care Needs of the Bloomsburg Community for Over a Century

Bloomsburg Hospital first opened its doors on September 11, 1905, answering a pressing need for health care in the Bloomsburg community. Dr. John W. Bruner, a Bloomsburg surgeon, was an early proponent of a hospital and sought the help of Joseph Ratti, the principal stockholder of the Bloomsburg Silk Mill. The hospital was originally located on the corner of Fifth and Spruce Streets until 1928 when a new hospital and nursing residence were built on the current site. Since then, the 72-bed facility has undergone three major renovations.

On July 1, 2012 Bloomsburg Hospital merged into Geisinger Health System, becoming Geisinger-Bloomsburg Hospital (G-BH). Since the merger, Geisinger has invested many resources in G-BH that include a major renovation of the Emergency Department; the addition of Geisinger Careworks, an urgent care walk-in clinic; implementation of EPIC, an electronic medical record; expansion of the hospitalist and midwifery programs; recruitment of specialty physicians; and investments in education and wellness initiatives for employees. In early 2014, neurology will join services already housed at G-BH including cardiology, orthopaedics, women’s services, psychiatry and general surgery. Geisinger has also invested in its nearly 400 employees at G-BH with enhanced educational opportunities and health and wellness benefits.

G-BH maintains its commitment in Bloomsburg, working with independent physicians, developing strong partnerships through a new community outreach program and continuing to foster relationships like those with Bloomsburg University and the United Way. The organization also strives to learn about the health challenges of community members and ways to develop programming to support them and give back through a Community Health Needs Assessment. And as part of their non-profit status, G-BH provided community benefit of more than $4.1 million in fiscal year 2012 alone.

Geisinger Bloomsburg is proud to be part of the Bloomsburg community and will continue to develop and enhance programs to provide our patients Geisinger care close to their homes.

Don’t Reduce Employee Hours Unnecessarily

The Affordable Care Act will likely continue to be a source of confusion and frustration for employers and individuals throughout implementation. While the employer penalties for the “pay or play” rules have been delayed until January 2015, many employers have already begun adjusting employee hours for the coming year to avoid the mandate. Make sure your business would fall within the large employer threshold before unnecessarily adjusting hours and impacting your employees.

The provision that employers must provide minimum levels of coverage to employees or pay a penalty only applies to those with 50 or more full-time equivalents. Employers that fall below the threshold are not required to provide health insurance. All employers are required to inform employees about the Health Insurance Marketplaces starting this fall.

The employee size calculator and other information and resources related to the Affordable Care Act are available on the Chamber’s website. Members with questions about Marketplaces or providing benefits to members can contact ChamberChoice at 1-800-377-3539.

Employers Must Provide Notice to Employees by October 1st

Beginning January 1, 2014, individuals and employees of small businesses will have access to insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) health insurance exchanges, which are also known as Health Insurance Marketplaces. Open enrollment under the Marketplaces will begin on October 1, 2013.  ACA requires all employers to provide all new hires and current employees with a written notice about ACA’s Marketplaces.

The Department of Labor (DOL) has prepared model Marketplace notices which are linked below to provide guidance for employers to use in satisfying the Exchange notice requirement.

Model Marketplace Notice for employers that offer a health plan.

Model Marketplace Notice for employers that do not offer a health plan

The DOL also set a compliance deadline for the Exchange notices. Employers must provide employees with a Marketplace notice by October 1, 2013.

More information on employer and individual mandates is available on the Health Care Reform Resources page.