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NEWS

December 19, 2006

RSU Innovation Center to Host Small Business Health Insurance Workshop in Claremore

Rogers State University's Innovation Center in Claremore is hosting a small business workshop to assist business owners seeking affordable health coverage for themselves and their employees.

The workshop will be held from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 4 at the Claremore Innovation Center.

Melissa Pratt from the Oklahoma Health Care Authority will provide attendees with information about the new Oklahoma Employer/Employee Partnership for Insurance program.  The O-EPIC Premium Assistance Program will pay part of the health plan premiums for eligible employees and their spouses working for qualified Oklahoma small businesses that employ fewer than 50 employees.

More than 96 percent of all business establishments employ fewer than 50 people, according to the Oklahoma Insurance Department. Currently the O-EPIC program has enrolled more than 700 businesses and more than 1,400 individuals.

A 2001 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City reported that small businesses in the U.S. that employ 20 or fewer employees comprise 49% of the labor force employed by small businesses.

"Health insurance represents a significant cost for businesses.  Many small businesses have a hard time attracting and keeping qualified employees because of their inability to offer health insurance," said Dr. Ray Brown, president for Economic and Community Development at Rogers State University.

Advance registration is required. The registration fee for the workshop is $15.00 and must be paid at time of registration. To register to attend please contact the RSU Innovation Center at (918) 343-7533 or e-mail Innovation@rsu.edu.