Cost savings and variety
As an employer, you should look at your over-all benefits at least once a year. For employer groups under 50 enrolled employees, you would be wise to look at offering a multi-choice plan. Blue Cross, Blue Shield, and HealthNet offer mix and match options. Third party administrators such as PacAdvantage and Cal Choice offer more flexibility with these mix and match options. PacAdvantage and Cal Choice will also structure your bill so that you can see the employer cost and the employee cost.
An example of how you can save money
You could structure an employer contribution of a “Standard” benefit health insurance plan selection and allow your employee to upgrade their plan to a “Preferred” benefit level at their own expense. Some of your employees may need richer pharmacy benefits than others. By allowing them to upgrade (pre -FICA ) you are not buying increased pharmacy benefit for those who may not need it, therefore you will save money.
Premium Only Plans
Premium only plans are made possible by Internal Revenue code Section 125. The United States Congress created Code Section 125 to make benefits more affordable for employees. If you participate, you choose qualified insurance coverages and pay the premiums with pretax dollars. These pretax dollars are subtracted from the employee’s gross earnings before taxes are taken out. As an employer you will save on payroll taxes.
Most carriers offer a 12 month rate freeze when you enroll your group. Blue Cross will only offer a 6 month rate guarantee for groups under 10 employees. If you choose Blue Cross and you have fewer than 10 employees, you should forecast a rate increase mid cycle.
New Group Products That Please
Various carriers have introduced an HMO Access plan that allows a member to see a physician without a referral from their primary. HealthNet has some very nice open access plans that allow the member to go to a physician that is a PPO (Preferred Provider) only. That physician can prescribe medication, perform office services and order tests within their facility. The Access option office co-pay is $30.
Triple Net Coverage Plans offer complete coverage with complete freedom. Although the premiums can be higher than standard. This plan is often a perfect fit for the member who wants to be sure all of their medical expenses are taken care of and are tax deductible.