Running a business is a challenging endeavor. And running a large commercial enterprise with dozens or even hundreds of employees is often far more than one owner can manage alone.

However, despite what non-business owners may think, managing and growing a small business with only a handful of employees is a complex and often stressful undertaking in itself. And, as many small business owners are aware, doing business in states such as California can seem a bit more complicated.

One survey, for example, ranked states according to “how friendly” their state government is in regard to various regulations such as licensing, zoning, hiring, paying taxes, and health, safety, and environmental requirements. California, Rhode Island, and Illinois failed, receiving an F, according to survey respondents of small business owners.

Other considerations play into this perception, as well.

In fact, based on certain “business friendly” factors, California has been ranked as number 48 out of all 50 states in terms of its business tax climate, according to the Tax Foundation’s State Tax Index for 2022. Only New York and New Jersey ranked lower.

All this points to the fact that, while California remains one of the largest regions for providing small business opportunities, managing one requires help.

And that includes finding the right health insurance offerings for your business.



When it comes to finding and choosing the right California health insurance plans for you and your employees, the options can be a bit overwhelming.

Health Insurance, along with vision insurance and good dental insurance, are considered high-priority employee benefits, especially in California. Finding quality employees is one of the challenges facing every business owner and offering quality employee benefits is one of the key elements for providing compelling offers to prospects.

But navigating your options from the top health insurance companies offering California health insurance can be difficult, time-consuming, and even a bit overwhelming. This is especially true for first-time business owners and those who have few employees are fully engaged in the day-to-day operations themselves.

And there are a multitude of questions that need to be addressed, as well.



A common question that comes up for owners concerns the distinctions between typical acronyms used in the medical insurance industry.

For example, we talk of HMOs quite often. This is simply what is known as a Health Maintenance Organization. In California, Kaiser Permanente is the largest HMO in the state.

According to Healthcare.gov, an HMO is type of health insurance plan that usually limits coverage to care from doctors who work for or contract with the HMO. It generally won’t cover out-of-network care except in an emergency.


HSA What is an HSA

Another question concerns the difference between an HSA and PPO.

An HSA, or Health Savings Account, is not a health plan but a type of savings account that allows one to set aside money on a pre-tax basis to use for qualified medical expenses. These untaxed dollars can be used to pay for deductibles, copayments, coinsurance, and some other expenses. HSA funds typically cannot be used to pay premiums, however.

An individual can only contribute to an HSA if that person also has a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP). This is a health insurance plan that typically only covers preventive services before the deductible. While not as common as HMO or PPO plans, an HDHP provides a lower-cost health insurance option that can allow a member to pay less for health insurance.


A PPO stands for Preferred Provider Organization. Similar in many ways to HMOs, they do not, however, require members to choose a primary care provider, or PCP. This means members can choose to see any doctor or specialist within their network although they are encouraged to use doctors and hospitals within the PPO’s preferred network.

Much like an HMO, members pay a yearly deductible before the PPO starts to pay some or all of their bills. members pay a percentage of a bill, often referred to as co-insurance, for covered services, while the PPO pays the balance.

Some feature distinctions include:

  • You can see the doctor or specialist you’d like without having to see a PCP first.
  • You can see a doctor or go to a hospital outside the network, and you may be covered. However, your benefits will be better if you stay in the PPO network.
  • Premiums tend to be higher, and it’s common for there to be a deductible.



J.C. Lewis Insurance is a long-time, family-owned firm of expert brokers based in Sonoma County. Our mission has always been to provide expert advice and assistance to small business owners throughout Northern California when it comes to group health insurance and group medical plans.

At J.C. Lewis, we only offer California health insurance plans from the top health insurance companies that are licensed to do business in California. And we are licensed and certified by each of these insurance carriers to offer coverage to individuals, families, and small group employers.

In addition to these services, we help with Medicare supplemental and prescription drug plans for seniors.

If you are self-employed, or your employer doesn’t provide health benefits, then an individual or family plan can be the best option for you, or you and your family.

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