Small and medium-sized businesses in Central Jersey will soon be able to join a new health plan cooperative aimed at holding down costs.

CentraState Medical Center in Freehold (Google Street View)

On March 1st, the CentraState Healthcare System will be launching its own health plan. Centrastate President and CEO John Gribbin said the CentraState Community Health Plan (CCHP) is a self-insured multiple employer welfare arrangement plan.

"It's just that it is a way of creating a risk-pool to enable small employers to take advantage of self-risk," Gribbin explained.

The CCHP is a partnership with CentraState and Affiliated Physicians and Employers Health (APEHP) and is being administered by QUALCARE. Gribbin said in an effort to hold the line on cost .. its more than 175 affiliated physicians in the health plan agreed to provide discounted rates to plan members.

In addition, small businesses that join the CCHP would also have access to a host of wellness programs that they offer to CentraState employees with the goal of realizing more savings by helping to improve the health of employees.

"We're going to have to find a way to deal with the demand of for the healthcare and that means improving your health status," according to Gribbin. "There is literally no system in the world that can take care of a population that won't take care of themselves," Gribbin said.

Gribbin said the CCHP is being offered through a couple of local venues including three local Chambers of Commerce.

Individuals who are interested in learning more about the CCHP can call 855-610-2366 for more information.