Finding and providing health care insurance coverage for employees is a challenge for every small business owner. In fact, for very small businesses – those with less than 10 full-time employees – the options are somewhat limited.

For most of the few affordable providers that are available to these smaller employers, the options they offer are also limited.


The 5 Advantages of Choosing CaliforniaChoice

A great healthcare plan provider option for these small employers is CaliforniaChoice. Also known as Cal Choice, it is the only Small Group Private Exchange in California. Private health exchanges are marketplaces for health insurance plans run by private companies.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), authorizes both private health exchanges and government health exchanges to facilitate the process of finding, comparing, and purchasing health insurance. While private health exchanges are run by private companies, while public health exchanges are government-run at either the federal or state level.

CaliforniaChoice has a variety of advantages for employers. Here are five advantages that make CaliforniaChoice different:


1. Offers Small Business Employers Multiple Choices of Carrier:

Unfortunately for smaller businesses, many providers only offer them two or three choices of healthcare carriers. California Choice, in contrast, provides eight different carriers for employees to choose from:

    • Anthem Blue Cross
    • Health Net
    • Kaiser Permanente
    • Oscar
    • Western Health Advantage
    • Sharp Health Plan
    • Sutter Health Plus
    • UnitedHealthcare


2. Offers Four Tiers of Health Plans

Plans in the Marketplace are presented in four tiers, or categories often referred to as “metal categories.” As of September 1, 2020 CaliforniaChoice now offers all four tiers:

    • Bronze
    • Silver
    • Gold
    • Platinum


According to Healthcare.gov,

“Metal categories are based on how you and your plan split the costs of your health care. They have nothing to do with quality of care.” 


3. Offers a Premium Only Program for Employees

A Premium Only Plan, or POP, is a free plan that lets employees pay insurance premiums with pre-tax dollars. By selecting this optional benefit from CaliforniaChoice, an employer is allowed to take salary deductions for certain health and insurance programs on a pre-tax basis.

The employee’s insurance premium deduction is taken out of his or her gross wages. By reducing the gross wage amount, payroll taxes are in turn reduced for both the employer and employees. In addition, the initial set-up fee for the POP is covered at no cost for the first time this plan is chosen.


4. Employee Discounts

CaliforniaChoice offers a no-cost Cal Perks Discount Program, which is a great resource for employees. The Cal Perks program provides your business with discounts on a variety of consumer services and products such as movie tickets, sporting events, theme and water parks, vacation packages, hotels, car rentals, tax services, weight management, and more.

In addition, employers and employees can have access to the free prescription card California Rx Card. The service provides potential savings of up to 75 percent at more than 68,000 pharmacies nationwide including Walgreens, Rite Aid, CVS, and Target.


5. Offers Add-On Insurance Plans

In addition to providing more than 70 choices from eight carriers and health plans, CaliforniaChoice provides employers and employees the choice of enrolling in a select variety of discount Dental, Vision, Chiropractic, Acupuncture, and Life insurance benefits.

Depending on what options an employer chooses to offer, CaliforniaChoice can bundle everything into one package, similar to bundling your cable, wi-fi, and phone services. In addition, an employee’s entire benefits package can be managed with just one program, one monthly bill, and one customer service point of contact for questions.


Additional Options and Benefits

CaliforniaChoice provides healthcare coverage solutions for small employers in California, regardless of whether the businesses employ as few as two employees or as many as 100.

In addition to the free Premium Only Plan, everyone has access to their Business Solutions Suite, online human resources support, HSA Resource Center, and Cal-COBRA billing. For employers with larger groups, a Flexible Spending Account and Federal COBRA billing is also included.

Health plan cost control is supported with their Defined Contribution feature. Employers decide how much they can afford to contribute toward employee benefits and employees use that contribute toward the option that they like best.

If an employee selects an option that exceeds the employer’s contribution, the employee simply pays the difference. In addition, the rates are guaranteed for an entire year.


Your Local Resource For Small Business Group Health Insurance 

A long-time family-owned firm made up of expert brokers, JC Lewis Insurance is based in Sonoma County. We offer California employers options for small business group health plans from leading health insurance carriers that are licensed to do business in California.

As experienced, professional brokers, we are licensed and certified by each of these insurance carriers to offer coverage to small group employers, as well individuals and families. In addition, we provide seniors services for Medicare supplemental and prescription drug plans for seniors.

When you’re shopping for medical insurance for you and your family, you are likely to have a number of questions and concerns. That’s great because we welcome your questions about health coverage insurance and you can be confident that JC Lewis Insurance Services will help you find the right solution.