Choosing the Right Group Health Insurance For Your Company

Many small business owners make the mistake of purchasing a group health plan without utilizing the services of experienced insurance agents to help choose the most viable and affordable plan for their company.

Many health plans already cover the insurance agent’s commission in the cost of the health care plan, thus companies should take advantage of the expertise and knowledge an experienced insurance agent can offer. When choosing between the many health plan options available, employers can actually save time and money by consulting with an established insurance agency before investing in medical coverage plans that best suit their employee’s needs and the company’s budget.

Studies have shown that one of the benefits of providing group health insurance for employees is the increased retention rate for a quality workforce. In these days of high gas prices and increased costs, offering health insurance at the workplace is a big incentive for many who cannot afford individual health insurance coverage. Investing in your company’s future healthcare can increase loyalty, and overall employee satisfaction, productivity, security, and of course, employee health and fitness. The cost and options of these plans vary according to group size and the state in which your insurance company, or provider is located.

Group health insurance plans start with at least two full time employees and because of healthcare reforms, every state is required to offer this coverage in the workforce. The many health plan options vary greatly and employers have a choice in what medical coverage they can afford their budget; from basic coverage, to plans that cover preventive care and dental coverage. The many options offered in managed care plans, or HMO’s, and fee-for-service plans can be very confusing.

Employers must decide how much they can invest and what type of medical services they can afford for their employees. HMO’s are designed to offer reduced rates by using a select group of doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare providers. Employees must stay within that network when getting medical care. Fee-for-service or indemnity group health plans allows your employees to choose their providers. They in turn have control over their choices of doctors and specialists and many options in who they want to visit for their medical services.

The majority of people insured today have insurance plans through their employers. This allows health plan providers to offer many small and large group health coverage plans. Insurance premiums vary according to the size of the workforce and include small companies with 2-100 employees, and large companies with 100 plus employees. Larger companies have an advantage because of their size and can often select reduced premium plans that offer basic medical coverage for the employees. Some health plans have higher co-pays for the employees and only cover medical care within the managed network of healthcare providers. Many plans charge higher premiums, but cover more medical services for the company’s employees.

Investing in group health insurance for your employees is a major decision that needs professional advice and planning. Keeping your company’s employees healthy and productive for years will pay off in increased profits and success. With an experienced and reputable insurance agent, your company can have the help and expertise to consider all the insurance options available based on your budget, the medical needs of your employees and the costs of medical services in your state. This is an important service for employers who need to comparison shop for the best health plans available for their company employees.

How To Choose The Best Group Health Insurance Policy

Choosing group health insurance most often requires a considerable amount of research and time. If you are unfamiliar with the process and the type of plans that are available, the task may initially appear confusing. It is an employer’s duty to provide policies to their employees. If you are the owner or HR manager of a business and are searching for a suitable option, the information contained below should help you in making the right decision.

If the number of employees in the company is between two and forty nine, this is classified as a small group. There are certain differences that are apparent between the various policies dependent upon the number of participants. For example, an insurer may decline to provide coverage dependent on the overall health history of individuals within small groups.

Larger groups are termed as such if the company has more than fifty employees. It can often be more difficult choosing a provider for a bigger workforce as additional factors may be considered. It is worth finding an insurer who specializes in large groups if you want to ensure you are able to offer the most comprehensive policy.

The premium rates do differ considerably between insurers. For this reason, it is important to carry out a broad search when checking out the various options. The internet has allowed for the effort involved to be reduced greatly. You should try and compare quotes from a range of different providers, this includes those insurers that you may never have considered before. Be aware that if the firm operates solely in the online domain, the policies may be more affordable as the company would have fewer overheads.

It is also worthwhile taking the time to analyze the payout history of the provider. It is essential that if an employee needed to avail of a medical service, they do so without worrying about the financial burden and treatment options. At the end of the day, if a member of staff was to receive inadequate treatment, this can have an impact on business turnover and profitability.

If you have friends that are also managers or owners of a business, it can be of use consulting them for information as to which health insurance plan would be most desirable. It is often through word of mouth that we can avail of the best products in terms of value for money and customer service.

All insurers are regulated at state level, most often with guidelines and policies imposed from federal agencies. You can contact your local state’s Department of Insurance for information relating to the present regulations and obligations that govern the type of policies that need to be made available to workers.

Before you make a final decision, it can be useful to consult your workforce as to the type of cover that they would expect and prefer. This should help you to make a decision that is in everyone’s best interests. Consultation can also lift staff morale and ensure that no confusion arises at a later date.

PEOs Help Employers With Small Business Medical Insurance

Even as companies begin hiring again, it will take some time before the workforce is back to pre-recession levels. What this means for the average business is that managers are trying to maximize productivity with a smaller workforce. The inevitable result is a more stressful work environment as both employees and management struggle to find a healthy balance between productivity and the decreased manpower. Employers will be required to find new ways of incentivizing and motivating their workforce to maintain a positive attitude while managing increased workloads.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), prospective employees value benefits second only to pay when considering a new job. And for good reason – the BLS reports that benefits account for 30% of employers’ total compensation costs. What this means is that medical insurance for small business will begin to receive serious consideration from employers to maintain a happy and committed workforce.

The challenge, however, is investing the time to research, plan, and roll-out benefit plans. With small employer resources already strapped, finding the manpower to implement a small business medical insurance plan can prove overwhelming.

PEOs Enhance Performance with Health Insurance and Voluntary Benefits.

Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs) provide small employers the unique opportunity to offer their staff a rich and comprehensive array of employee benefit programs that are typically available to only the largest corporations. These robust offerings include a wide range of major medical plans and voluntary benefit offerings. The PEO provides these benefit packages to hundreds of clients, and has the experience to research and procure these top-rated plans for their clients. When joining a PEO, clients merely select they plans they intend to offer, and the PEO takes over from there. From open enrollment, to addressing employee questions, to administering the monthly billing, all the plan management is the responsibility of the PEO.

Most large PEOs offer the following range of benefits:

  • Multiple health insurance coverages
  • Dental insurance
  • Vision insurance
  • Life insurance
  • Disability and alternative insurance
  • 401 (k) Retirement Plan
  • Pre-tax Cafeteria 125 Plans
  • Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)
  • Employee Assistance Programs
  • Credit Union and financial services

PEO clients are assigned a benefits manager to address all employee inquiries and to manage any related administrative issues. Clients can literally sit-back, and let the PEO manage the process.

Containing Benefit Costs Through Economies of Scale

While most employers recognize the need to offer rich benefits to their staff, the ever-increasing cost of health insurance is forcing them to think twice before rolling out a new plan. Luckily, in a PEO relationship, small employers can offer the scope and pricing of their large competitors. By pooling hundreds, and even thousands of businesses, PEOs aggregate health benefit plans, retirement plans, workers’ compensation insurance, and legal expertise. The PEO establishes relationships with large regional insurance companies and can offer better plan selections with lower premiums.

Another benefit of working with a PEO is that it provides the insurance carriers greater stability by offering insurance coverage to employees in a broader employee base. The pooled employees come from different industries and geographic areas which stabilize the premiums over the long-term. This provides the PEO greater negotiating power at renewal, thus typically keeping renewal rates below market averages.

There is little question that in today’s economy, the PEOs role in offering small business medical insurance plans to employers will be invaluable in assisting them to roll-out robust plans, quicker and more cost effectively.