How Covered California Can Help Your Small Business
Covered California is a public health insurance exchange in California offering small employers choice(s) when it comes to their employee’s health insurance. It’s typical for employees of a small business to desire different styles of care, and Covered California for Small Business can provide this. The two most popular carriers contracted with Covered California are Blue Shield of California and Kaiser Permanente.
Choosing a Carrier
Blue Shield of California is a PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) allowing employees the freedom to choose physicians in-network or out-of-network. Contracted Blue Shield providers offer subscriber discounts through negotiated fees and access to lower deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums. Kaiser Permanente (KP) is an HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) and requires subscribers to only use physicians and facilities within the KP network. Subscribers may be assigned or can choose a primary care provider to coordinate care with specialists. KP members have access to primary, specialty, out-patient care, pharmacy, emergency room, hospital services, and more all in one location.
Allowing employees to choose between two carriers makes an employer’s benefit package more competitive. For example, a life-long Kaiser Permanente member may be disappointed if they can’t continue care with the physician that understands how to treat their chronic health condition. Offering only a PPO health plan may require this employee to switch medical groups in the midst of specialized treatment program.
Covered California for Small Business allows employers the choice to opt out of offering dependent coverage. Not all carriers offer this option. When an employer offers health insurance to their employees, it’s important to consider the tax credits their dependents might qualify for elsewhere. As the employer you might actually be hurting your employees by offering a benefits package that allows dependents to be enrolled (at the employees cost), especially if your employees have a lower than average income. This is an important consideration when strategizing for your benefits package via Covered California.
Let’s face it, most employees appreciate having a choice when it comes to health insurance, and Covered California for Small Business can provide that. Some other things you may be interested in hearing about are small business tax credits, consolidated premium notices, and assigning reference plans to provide financial control on employer contributions. For assistance setting up your employee benefits program, call us and speak with one of our licensed agents today.