Many small business employers tend to think that group health insurance is only attainable for big companies with dozens or even hundreds of employees. And, while those employers with fewer than 50 full time workers are not required to offer health insurance, many owners would like to.
The good news is that businesses with one employee can still qualify for a group health insurance plan depending on how their state defines a “group.”
According to Small Business Majority, group medical coverage refers to a single policy issued to a group (typically a business with employees) that covers all eligible employees and sometimes their dependents.
As the website at PeopleKeep points out,
“If the business has both an owner and an employee (making a “group” of two), they’re eligible for a small group health plan in all states. As with large group plans, eligible employers with these plans pay a fixed premium amount, and the employee pays the policy’s copay, deductible, and potentially a portion of the monthly premium cost if the employer chooses.”
They go on to note that small group health insurance plans are typically purchased through a private health exchange, such as a licensed agent or insurance broker, or a public exchange, like the federal Small Business Health Options (SHOP) marketplace.
However, choosing the right group health insurance plan can be a daunting task.
STEPS FOR CHOOSING THE RIGHT GROUP PLAN FOR YOUR BUSINESS
So, you’ve decided to offer your workers affordable and quality health insurance coverage. That puts you in the over 55 percent of small employers who currently offer health insurance to employees.
But there are several factors to consider when shopping for group health insurance, even before you choose the plan you believe is the right one for your company:
- Cost: The cost of the insurance plan is an essential factor to consider. Ideally, a plan should fit your budget and offer comprehensive coverage.
- Network of providers: The plan should provide access to a broad network of healthcare providers, including hospitals, clinics, and doctors. And the providers need to be geographically accessible to your employees.
- Benefits: These can include prescription drug coverage, mental health benefits, and coverage for preventive care, such as annual check-ups.
- Deductibles and copayments: These are employee costs in addition to the monthly premium. Know the plan’s deductible and copayment requirements, as these can significantly affect your employees’ out-of-pocket costs.
- Coverage limits: Look for a plan that has reasonable coverage limits, especially if your employees have pre-existing conditions that require ongoing medical care.
- Plan type: Learn the different types of group health insurance plans, such as HMOs, PPOs, and POS plans. Look for a plan that works best for your employees and their families.
- Customer service: A company with a reputation for excellent customer service has more value for your employees. You want a provider that is easy to work with and offers quick and effective solutions to issues.
- Plan administration: Much like customer service, look for a plan that is easy to administer, and has clear communication channels and user-friendly tools for tracking claims and benefits.
To recap, when shopping for group health insurance, your primary considerations should be the needs of your employees and their families, the cost of the plan, the quality of coverage, and the customer service provided by the insurance provider.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT GROUP HEALTH INSURANCE
Many business owners tend to look for what they think of as the “best” plan, but the goal should be to choose the “right” plan for you and your employees.
Of course, choosing the right group health insurance plan can be a daunting task, but it’s crucial for both the employer and the employees. Here are some steps you can follow to select the best group health insurance plan:
- Evaluate your company’s needs: This involves assessing your company’s healthcare needs, such as the number of full time employees, their ages, and their health status. In addition, consider your budget and the type of coverage you want to offer.
- Research plans and providers: Based on your company’s insurance needs, research plans and providers that offer group health insurance. You can compare different plans based on their premiums, deductibles, co-pays, and coverage limits, as well as prescription benefits.
- Consider the network: One of the most important factors to consider is the network of healthcare providers that the plan covers. This includes the network size and geographic coverage. Also, make sure that the plan includes a wide range of doctors and hospitals that your employees can easily access.
- Check for additional benefits: Some group health insurance plans offer additional benefits such as dental, vision, or mental health coverage. Consider these options in terms of their relevance to your employees’ needs.
- Review the plan documents: After narrowing your choices down to a few options, make sure to read the plan documents carefully. Look for any exclusions or limitations in coverage, and make sure that the plan meets your company’s needs.
- Get feedback from employees: Once you have selected a few plans that meet your company’s needs, ask your employees for feedback. You can conduct a survey to find out which plan they prefer and what features are most important to them.
- Consult with an expert: Finally, consider consulting with an insurance broker such as J.C. Lewis Insurance Services. We can help you navigate the complex world of group health insurance and provide expert advice on selecting the right plan for your company.
LET US HELP YOU CHOOSE THE RIGHT GROUP HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN FOR YOU AND YOUR EMPLOYEES
J.C. Lewis Insurance has been a local, family-owned firm based in Sonoma County since 1979, and our team of experienced brokers offer small-group health insurance plans to employers with 1 to 100 employees.
We provide small business plans from only the leading health insurance carriers that are licensed to do business in California.
In addition to being experienced professional brokers, we are licensed and certified by each insurance carrier to offer coverage to small-group employers and Medicare supplemental and prescription drug plans to Medicare-eligible beneficiaries.
When you’re shopping for health, dental, vision, life, supplemental benefits, short-term disability, and long-term disability, you are likely to have several questions and concerns.
At J.C. Lewis Insurance Services, we welcome your questions about insurance coverage, and you can be confident that we will help you find the right solution.