f you’re a small business owner in the Atlanta area, you might be considering getting group health insurance for your employees. But there are a lot of options out there – and we mean a lot. Which begs the question, how does a small business owner go about choosing a group health insurance plan? We’ve got six tips to help you evaluate and choose Atlanta group health insurance for your small business.
6 tips for choosing Atlanta group health insurance for your small business.
1. Figure out what’s covered by the plan and consider if it will meet your employees’ needs.
Your employees are the ones who will need to use their health insurance. Does the plan cover services that they’ll need? Will it truly be there for them to meet their healthcare needs, or will they be frustrated at the limitations of what’s covered?
2. Consider what type of plan it is.
There are different types of group health insurance plans.
HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) Plans have a network of physicians and healthcare providers that your employees have to stick to in order for their healthcare costs to be covered. While these plans are often less expensive than others, they’re not as flexible because the employee is limited to certain doctors, hospitals, specialists, and so on.
PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) Plans also have a network of physicians and doctors who are considered “in-network”, but your employees would not be required to go to one of these in-network healthcare providers to get the care they need. They can choose an out-of-network doctor, though it may be slightly more expensive. These plans are often more expensive but offer far more flexibility.
This is just a very simplified explanation of each of these plans. Still, it’s important to consider what your employees would prefer – do they want more flexibility and the option to keep seeing their current doctor, or would they rather be limited in their doctor choice but have lower costs?
3. Does the network of healthcare providers make sense for your employees?
You also have to figure out if the network of healthcare providers offered by the plan you’re considering (if it’s HMO or PPO) will make sense for your employees. Remember, the network of providers in the plan has agreed to charge certain prices for services, which means that it’s less expensive to go to an in-network doctor. For your employees to be able to stay in-network and pay less, they need to be able to actually use the network.
4. Think about the costs.
You also have to consider what your employees will have to pay for healthcare. There’s the premium they’ll have to pay for the plan (unless you’re footing the entire bill) but there could be other costs: copays, a deductible, and coinsurance.
- A copay is an amount that the patient has to pay in order to see their doctor. For example, the plan might have a $30 copay for primary care, a $50 copay for a specialist, and a $350 copay for an ER visit.
- The deductible is the amount that the employee has to pay before their healthcare costs will be covered. (When the deductible applies, however, depends on the plan. And not all plans have deductibles.)
- Coinsurance is the percentage split of the medical bills that the insurance company will pay and what your employee would have to pay. For example, 80-20 coinsurance means that the insurance carrier pays 80% of the bill and the patient pays 20%. Again, coinsurance depends on the plan.
Keep in mind that these are the very “short-version” definition of each of these terms! These costs differ greatly from plan to plan, which is why it’s important to consider them and think about what they mean for your employees. What costs will your employees have to pay if they need medical care? What’s best for them in the long run?
Typically, having higher premiums can mean having lower deductibles and copays, which is handy if you have to go to the doctor frequently. If you have a lower premium, you might see a higher deductible and higher copays, but that might be okay if you don’t really have to go to the doctor all that often. But again – you have to look at the plan closely.
5. Consider your budget.
You have to think about your Atlanta group health insurance budget, too, of course. How much are you going to contribute towards your employees’ health insurance and how much will they need to contribute? (And don’t forget to consider possible tax deductions for offering group health insurance when you’re thinking about it.)
6. Think about the carrier itself.
You should also do your homework and think about the carrier itself. Do they have a good reputation? Are they financially stable? Do they have a good record for handling claims, and will they truly be there for your employees? Is their customer service actually helpful? You need to be able to really trust the health insurance carrier you choose.
So, those are six tips for evaluating and choosing an Atlanta group health insurance plan. You have to really look at each plan and understand what’s covered and what the true costs are. If you want some help getting Atlanta group health insurance (or other types of small business insurance) and understanding all of the different options and plans out there, we would be happy to assist. We’ll break down all the complicated group health concepts that you need to know so that you can feel confident about your group health insurance. Get in touch with us by filling out our quote form or giving us a call today!