Do you need health insurance for your company or maybe your current insurance isn’t cutting it? In this article, you will find the best health insurance plans for small businesses to suit any combination of employees’ benefit needs. Here at Healthcare Deciphered, we used our expertise to rank plans according to several criteria, which we believe to be most important: affordability, plan variety, member benefit selection, and wellness incentives.
- Are you looking for superior coverage at an affordable price?
CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield has ranked highest in customer service over its competitors for years. BlueCross BlueShield health plans are regionally based, offering 4 or 5 plan options in each of their applicable state Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) exchanges. However, CareFirst has significant advantages, which is why National Association of Socially Responsible Organizations (NASCRO) also named this health insurance plan number one in Virginia. For example, employees pay co-pays for all office visits, prescriptions, outpatient services, and most other services resulting in lower costs. While an assigned Primary Care Provider (PCP) is required, the plan has a comprehensive provider network, which means that most of your employees should be able to find their doctors within the physician offering. The disadvantage is that no out-of-network benefits are provided and there is an annual out-of-pocket limit. While this may seem significant, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield still outranks comparable plans that tend to have higher deductibles or higher cost sharing plans, resulting in the employer and employees paying more for health insurance.
- Do your employees want Wellness Incentives?
Humana is re-inventing how wellness incentives are offered to employees through Humana Simplicity, which is a new type of health plan that Humana has recently introduced to the market. The plan offers well-being and healthy living incentives through, Humana Vitality, a program add-on to the Humana Simplicity health plan. The Vitality program offers employees “vital bucks” for completing activities, which can be redeemed for merchandise, like athletic clothes. This is a great employee-friendly and cost-effective opportunity for employers. The goal is to get employees to take charge of their health, which directly reduces healthcare costs for small businesses, by emphasizing preventative care and healthy lifestyles. It is an easy way to receive rewards for all the hard work your employees are doing to stay healthy.
- Is offering a strong provider network important to you?
If the wellness options at Humana Simplicity do not entice you as a small business owner, Priority Health may be a better fit for your growing company. While the costs of the plans vary, Priority Health offers 6 different types of health insurance plans, ranging from HMO, PPO, and POS plans, all of which have great benefit structures. This is unique as most plans with no deductible and no co-insurance have limited networks and require a PCP. Priority Health plans
offer employees greater flexibility for the provider network and cost structure. Employers can select tiered copays, integrated copays, or priority value plans that include Healthcare Savings Account (HSA) or Healthcare Reimbursement Account HRAs. This is an extremely exclusive offering that is much cheaper than comparable plans.
- Looking for modern or creative medical solutions?
Modern amenities drive Emblem Health to the forefront of innovation in the industry. The plan offers gym membership rebates, which encourage employees to make a valuable investment in their long-term health. Additionally, Emblem Health is a strong proponent of telehealth services, which allow people in any region to obtain consultations from physicians located anywhere from the comfort of their own homes. What makes Emblem an attractive option is that it can offer the same wellness incentives of other companies, such as CareFirst BCBS and Humana Simplicity, while keeping deductibles and coinsurance low for employees. There are very few plans such as these that offer small businesses reasonably affordable options. Despite the perks above, plan does have a deductible for prescriptions, which is a slight drawback.
- Do you want a friendly budget option with great benefits?
Kaiser Permanente is and has been the nation’s leader in cost effective health plans. The plans, which are offered nationally, are focused on a limited provider network. If your company is not regionally based, this is probably your best option as a small business owner. The provider networks primarily utilize Kaiser hospitals, physicians, pharmacies, etc., This design allows the plan to manage members’ healthcare effectively. As a result, the cost savings of the Kaiser approach roll into your pocket.
Overall, there are plans you can afford for which the cost per employee is very reasonable for good health insurance. This guide will help you determine what plan is right for your business and for your employee mix. If you are looking for additional guidance specific to your state or region, check out SHOP. SHOP is the government exchange market for small business to find health insurance. Some state SHOPs have limited options with significant variation. As private investors join the exchange, the variability will continue to grow. However, the best health insurance plans for small businesses currently remain in the private marketplace.
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