How To: Get Group Health Insurance
by: Gaines Kilpatrick | ChooseWhat.com
If your company has two or more people then you qualify for, and should obtain, a group medical plan.
Group insurance gives you many personal and professional benefits over individual health plans, including:
Healthier Employees. People are more likely to engage in preventative medical care when they have a good health plan. Going to the doctor when you need and want to rather than when you have to tends to be cheaper in the long run, both in terms of medical costs and employee productivity.
Competitive Culture. Talented employees are your biggest asset and you need to offer them competitive benefit packages to keep them from jumping ship to another company. It also makes recuriting new employees easier.
Better Coverage. Even if the cost is similar to an individual plan, group health coverage is usually a lot better. The Affordable Care Act of 2010 has introduced new tax credits and subsidies for small businesses to use when buying insurance. In addition, some impending elements of the law (starting in 2014) will allow small businesses to pool resources when buying health insurance in order to give them similar bargaining power afforded to large organizations.
The company pays at least 50% of the employee’s premium in all level of plans. Most carriers offer plans for Employee Only, Employee + Spouse, Employee + Child, or Employee + Family. You don’t have to pay anything for dependents (spouse, child or family) if you don’t want to; however, it is encouraged that you do so to stay competitive.
Before you get group health insurance, you should:
Assemble the information you need to get quotes for insurance.
- Your zip code
- Number of employees enrolling in the plan
- Desired insurance types (i.e. group health, vision, dental)
- Date company started operating
- Name of your business
- Your SIC code (industry classification codes maintained by the SEC to identify a business' primary industry)
- Personal information of employees, including dependents (e.g. date of birth, gender, number of children, etc.)
- Your email address
- Your phone number
Get group medical insurance quotes.
Hire a Group Health Insurance Broker
- Advantages: We strongly recommend getting a broker for your medical plan. Your broker will help you digest all the paperwork involved with getting an insurance plan and will also shop your policy every year to make sure you’re getting the best rate. This is especially important with a group medical plan because the demographics of your group (e.g. marriage, divorce, child birth, average age of your group, group size) are constantly changing, which affects your rates. Your broker can also deal directly with your employees and the insurance company to deal with coverage issues. This frees you as a business owner from having to deal with the administrative headaches or get uncomfortably involved in the personal health issues of your employess.
- Disadvantages: There are no real disadvantages to using an insurance broker. However, some discount carriers may not work with insurance brokers.
- Where to Find Brokers: Once you’ve narrowed your search down to a few insurance providers, you can usually contact the provider to work with one of its brokers. If you want to work with a local insurance broker, just do a quick Google search for “commercial insurance broker + your city” to find brokers in your area.
Search for Insurance Quotes Online
Advantages: You can do it yourself. Some discount carriers may not work with insurance brokers, so contacting them yourself will be the only way to get a quote.
- Disadvantages: Unless you’re an expert yourself you don’t have anyone knowledgeable in your corner to advise you about what to do.
- Where to Find Quotes: eHealthInsurance, a licensed health insurance agency, helps you compare over 10,000 plans from 180 top companies. Since they are a health insurance agency and not a health insurance company, they can offer plans from multiple insurance companies in your area.
Sign up with an insurance provider and pay the premium.
- Typically, you must pay a monthly premium, but you can often receive discounts if you prepay.
What to Look for When Hiring an Insurance Broker:
- Good service. Check out the agent or broker handling your account and the back office resources available to that broker. Make sure he or she has time to give you the attention you need and that they’re not operating on an island with no support. If possible, hire someone local so that face-to-face meetings are possible.
- Good reputation. Do your homework on the firm and the broker/agent’s reputation. Check references and search for reviews online. In addition, see if they’re members of the Better Business Bureau or other trade organizations.
- The firm you’re dealing with is set up to handle a business of your size. Different firms specialize in different sized businesses. A large company with a fully staffed HR department needs a different type of service than a three person sales office.