Whether you are a business looking to offer health insurance to its employees or an individual looking for health insurance coverage it could be a taunting task. It often is confusing understanding what is being offered and whether it really is right for you. It is easy to wonder if the agent you are speaking with is more concerned with their commission or your coverage and needs in the future.
Speak with people you trust and respect before making any decision. If you are a business owner, talk with others within your professional associations or in your Chamber of Commerce. Your Chamber of Commerce or professional association may have a special arrangement with an insurance provider to offer group coverage or a discount because you are a member. It never hurts to ask.
When comparing the coverage that various companies offer, make sure you are comparing apples to apples, exactly the same coverage offering, with the same deductibles and out of pocket expenses. It is easy to have a lower premium, if you deductible is higher or if there are larger out of pocket expenses that must be incurred before the insurance starts to provide services.
Before talking with insurance companies, conduct a survey of your employees to know exactly what their needs are; ask all the pertinent questions you can, including who their doctors are that they currently use. It will be more satisfactory to your employees to be able to retain their current doctors, rather than change to a new doctor, simply because they have new coverage. Generally going to a doctor that is out of the network requires a higher co-pay, and may have other restrictions.
Consult with an independent insurance broker who specializes in business insurance and group plans, who can show you several plans and compare them to each other. If the agent can only show you one choice, he may be only showing you the choice that is best for him and his commission. Be open to the idea that your company, might be able to qualify to be part of a larger organization to benefit from better rates.
Tax incentives may be available to companies who can participate in group insurance plans. It may enable employees to pay for their portion of the monthly premium with pre tax dollars thereby lowering the employees tax liability.
Choosing a plan that includes preventative care could lead to healthier employees, which in turn have healthier lifestyles which leads to less absenteeism and in the long run, more productivity.
Whether you are a business or individual looking for insurance, make sure you consider health maintenance organizations (HMOs), preferred provider organizations (PPOs), as well as health savings accounts (HASs). Dont be closed minded, because of an unhappy experience in the past or from the unhappy experiences of others. Learn about all of your available options to make a truly informed decision. Make sure the independent insurance agent you use can give you the ability to look at all of your options.