1871 becomes first incubator to offer members healthcare and benefits exchange

by Sam Dewey
November 6, 2015

What a week it’s been for 1871.

On Wednesday, Chicago’s esteemed tech hub was named the number one university-affiliated incubator in the U.S. by UBI Global.

Today, 1871 adds another trailblazing laurel to its resume.

According to a company statement, the Merchandise Mart-based community will become the first incubator in the world to offer a private healthcare and employee benefits exchange available to member companies, individual workers and alumni members who maintain membership.

“From day one we’ve been talking about the importance of launching healthcare for our members,” CEO Howard Tullman said in the statement. “This is an essential tool for all companies in recruiting and retaining employees, especially startups. It’s also a critical offering for individuals who are pursuing their passion and dreams, but who are also responsible for themselves and their families.

"We are really excited to add this to the robust set of services and resources we already offer our members and which further distinguish 1871 on the global stage.”

Using the site 1871.memberbenefits.com, 1871 members can choose among several health insurance plans in addition to a suite of other coverage, including dental and vision insurance, identity theft protection, telehealth services, and even pet insurance.

“Access to a complete set of employee benefits is crucial to our ability to hire the most talented employees for our growing team,” said 1871 member and Options Away co-founder and COO Heidi Brown in the statement.

Brown added she’s proud to be a part of an organization that’s “stepping up” on making sure community members have access to quality and affordable healthcare.

Companies working at 1871 have the option to organize standardized contribution plans tailored to the needs of their employees and business.

Wolf Point Advisors, the financial services firm powering the exchange, will have extended office hours and staff available to help companies and individuals find the plan that’s best for them.

Coverage begins at the start of the new year, and 1871 members can enroll now.

Because finding quality health insurance can be a major hurdle for startups, 1871’s announcement caught the attention of some of Chicago’s biggest brands.

“Health insurance is key to attracting and retaining top talent, which is crucial to building great new businesses,” said Matt Maloney, CEO of GrubHub in the statement. “This would have been very helpful when I was building GrubHub.”

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