by J.L. Haynes, Public Policy & Advocacy Manager
After over a year of planning, collaboration, and coordination, DANA is excited to announce the impending launch of a new health benefit for members. The DANA team has been working to address the growing issue of unsustainable increases in healthcare costs for nonprofit employers, particularly for small to medium-sized organizations. This member issue was a top legislative priority in DANA’s 2023 Public Policy Agenda. Following a successful legislative session, we have produced great movement on two viable options that would allow organizations to get more competitive rates by either joining a larger DANA membership pool, participating in the State’s larger employee benefits pool, or leveraging the rates from the two options to better negotiate with their current provider.
DANA Association Health Plan
The first option calls for the creation of an Association Health Plan (AHP) administered by DANA for DANA members, allowing members to purchase into a group plan. This option requires significant startup costs, which have been prohibitive to other sectors, and a significant administrative burden on the DANA team to create the AHP. However, participation in this AHP would be offered to all DANA members. We are proud to announce the Carney Administration has utilized ARPA dollars to cover the $1 million startup cost for DANA to be able to build this AHP. Currently, the DANA team is in close communication with the Department of Insurance as we create this exciting member benefit.
DANA’s Proposal to Join the State’s Plan
A large portion of our legislative advocacy centered around gaining access to the State’s existing health benefits like the over 70 external organizations currently purchasing either health, dental, and vision or some combination thereof through the State. DANA’s ask was that nonprofits who meet certain requirements be able to be added to that list. The legislative session ended with the epilogue language in the Grant-In-Aid bill promising ongoing discussions with the Department of Human Resources, the Office of Management and Budget, and DANA to continue exploring the processes by which qualifying nonprofit organizations might join. Unfortunately, this option would not be available for all DANA members like the AHP. Preliminary conversations emphasized the main eligibility requirement that participating nonprofits have financial ties to the State. ongoing.
While the entirety of our membership will not benefit from the legislative healthcare initiative, we will continue to pursue additional options for all DANA members.