We love to shop online (even while we are in the brick and mortar store) and see where we can get the best price. And we learn quickly that prices vary from store-to-store and from site-to-site. Not so with health insurance rates.
Small group health insurance rates are the same, regardless of the source.
Small group health insurance rates are based purely on the age, gender, and zip code of each participant (including employee, spouse, and children). These rates do not vary based on the agent that you choose or even whether you buy the plans directly from the carrier. Of course, they do vary by the carrier, the provider network, and the member cost-sharing (deductibles, co-pays, coinsurance, etc.).
Here is where the agent can help.
Some markets offer hundreds of plan choices.
An experienced adviser can help you find your way through this maze.
As you shop for coverage, the question is not: "can a different broker find me the same plan for less?"
That does not exist.
The question is: "what is the right carrier, network, cost-sharing, and contribution strategy for my business?"
This is what we do. Provide solid advice on important strategies.
There ar important factors to consider such as do you contribute to both the employee premium and the dependent premium, or just the employee portion? Should you supplement the health insurance plan with a personal care account or with a basic health care indemnity plan? How do you implement a pre-tax employee contribution strategy? What role does dental and vision play in your benefit program? How important is disability insurance? Or life insurance? And so many more important questions. Each having an effect on your net business cost after the employees pay their portion via payroll deductions.
So let's review:
- Health insurance premiums do not vary based upon your agent or broker choice.
- Health insurance premiums (and net employer costs) do vary greatly based on your health plan strategy.
Lastly, you may qualify for lower rates with "Level Funded" health plans.
And tour current agent may not be aware of these options.
So be sure to ask "Is a level funded health plan right for our company?"
Level funded health plans are exempt from rating regulations of the Affordable Care Act (referred to as the ACA or Obamacare). Level funded health plans can vary rates based on medical status - ACA fully insured plans cannot. So if your group is a good risk, you may qualify for substantially lower rates (20-30% less). This can save tens of thousands for the typical small group.
Think about it - a 25% savings is an average savings of over $2,000 per employee.
So for a group of 15 employees that could be an annual savings of $30,000.
That is serious money.