Changes in healthcare laws have prompted many small businesses to look for new ways to provide health insurance for their workers without incurring high costs. Offering healthcare benefits can be a great way for a business to retain its most valuable workers, especially when larger enterprises are following a similar path. However, before establishing a health insurance plan, it is important to review the different options which are available.
What’s Happening in the Marketplace for Healthcare Benefits?
The healthcare marketplace, which is also referred to as the Exchange, is a system that allows workers to buy healthcare benefits for themselves through a mechanism which is competitive. This system offers five levels of coverage, which are bronze, silver, gold, platinum and catastrophic. With bronze coverage employees will pay 40 percent with 60 percent coverage.
For silver employees will pay 30 percent with 70 percent coverage, and gold requires the worker to pay 20 percent with 80 percent coverage while platinum requires a 10 percent payment with 90 percent coverage. Catastrophic is restricted to those under the age of 30, and while coverage is lower than 60 percent, preventive care is covered as well as three hospital visits for primary care.
These five health plans can be purchased by your employees if you give them the marketplace option. They differ from group health insurance because they are not provided via the employer. If your business has more than fifty employees then you are required to provide health insurance for your workers, or pay various fines to the government.
Health Insurance for Groups
Businesses that choose a health insurance plan for groups have a number of options available to them. Some of these include an HMO, Association Group, Large Employer Group, Small Employer Group and Preferred Provider Organization. HMO stands for Health Maintenance Organization, and they provide employees with a complete system of health services. With an Association Group, an organization other than the employer will be responsible for offering health insurance to their employees. One good example of this is a church that offers health insurance for members.
With a Large Employer Group, the employer will contract for health services with an insurance company. Small Employer Groups are similar, but are comprised of a collection of insurance companies which come together to control and anticipate costs which are connected to healthcare to offer a reduced rate for small businesses. Preferred Provider Organizations are networks of healthcare institutions which make contracts with insurance companies directly to provide coverage. Another plan is the Fully Insured Employer Group, in which employees with coverage are provided certifications through the insurance company for which their employer will be contracted.
Before selecting a healthcare plan, a business should evaluate its options carefully. For example, if a company is growing rapidly it may be best to choose a group insurance plan, since the risk will be extended through a large number of employees, and the premiums will be reduced. However, businesses with a small number of employees should consider individual health insurance plans.