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Shopping for company health insurance
California Group health insurance market
California, we have one of the most competitive markets in the
United States for Group health insurance and we need every bit
of it with the increasing rates over the past decade. We
really want to give you the power in the market and part of this
is to provide you the ability to instantly quote literally
dozens of carriers and over 100 plans side by side through our
quoting engine here. As much as having all that
information at finger tips is empowering, it can also be
overwhelming for a California business owner to wrap their heads
around. On top of this, the entire California group health
market is going to change significantly Jan 1st, 2014 as part of
Health Reform which we'll discuss as well. Let's get
Which Carriers Are Strong For Group Health Benefits
First, we have to narrow carriers down to the
most solid options available. Right now,
it's best to concentrate on Anthem Blue Cross,
Blue Shield of California, Kaiser, Aetna, Health
Net, and United. There are many smaller
and not so small carriers but the above carriers
are the strongest that we like to focus on.
Most of them have HMO, PPO, HSA, HRA, and even
the new ACO options. That still leaves way
too many options and we need to find a way to
narrow these down further. As a Small
Business in California, how do we take all these
available plans and still narrow it down
Short Cut To Running And Reading Your Group Quote
Let's tell you how we do it after years of
matching California companies with the best
health options. First, we load in the
basic demographic information such as zip codes,
employee ages, and dependent information
(single, spouse, child, children, and family).
This is all we need to put together a quote.
Once the plans and rates come up in the quote
engine, we find our benchmark, preferably one
HMO, one PPO, and one HSA. Most of the
carriers now offer the ability to give each
employee a choice of plans with some kind of
control of contribution by the employer.
This is why we need to look at each of these
three types of plans (HMO, PPO, HSA). So
what is the benchmark? It's the key to
finding the best plan. Let's teach you how
to do our job.
Finding Group Benchmark Plans
Look at one of the major carriers such as
Anthem Blue Cross. Find a PPO plan with a
$750 deductible, $3-4K copay limit, $30-40
copay, and both generic and brand name RX
coverage. With Anthem, it's the $40 copay
plan. Now, look at the monthly premium
amount. That's your benefit and premium
benchmark. Find a similar benchmark for
HMO plans ($40 copay with no deductible and full
network), and HSA plans ($2500 80/50 plan).
Now look at the other carriers for similar plans
and see who has the best rates. You'll
notice that the carriers all have a range of
options and although the benefits will not be
exact, they generally will have a plan that will
match your benchmark plans. You'll notice
that based on this comparison, a given carrier
may really price out better than the others.
There are many reasons this is the case...claims
may have been better for that carrier or the
carrier may want to be more aggressive for that
type of plan. Either way, you need to take
advantage of it. Be careful because some
carriers are well priced for HMO's while others
are priced well for PPO's. You want to
have a sense for what your employees will
gravitate towards. You also want to make
sure that your employee's doctors are in their
network with our online provider directories.
Once you've found the best pricing for benefits
and networks, how do you make sure that the
costs will stay within your company's budget?
We have a solution for that as well.
Offering Different Options While Fixing Your Cost
The major carriers mentioned above allow an
option for you to designate how much you're
going to contribute based on a fixed dollar
amount or a percentage of a given plan (or any
plan). With this option, you can give your
employees complete flexibility (even between
HMO's and PPO's) while adding control to your
budget. It's pretty slick and everyone
comes away happy.
Granted, there are still a lot of moving pieces here
between plans, networks, and contribution levels but we're happy to
do the grunt work for you. Let us know what you're looking for
and an estimated monthly budget. With this information, we can
find the California group health insurance carriers and plans that
best match your needs. Now, Jan 1st, 2014, the group market
will change quite a bit. Most likely, we will have four plans
available on the market from each carrier that participates in the
Exchange. We should start to see the general sketches mid 2013
and we can then re-evaluate our Group health options going forward.
It's about to get really interesting!
Group health insurance introduction in
Health Reform Updates
Cafeteria style plans for Small California
Group Health Insurance Quote