December Strictly Business

Health Insurance Options for Small Employers

Many small employers want to know if it would be smart to offer group health insurance to their employees. The two biggest factors in this decision are usually cost and the need to offer benefits to attract and retain quality employees. Just two years ago, an individual policy had a lower premium than a similar group insurance plan. That has changed. Group premiums are now lower.

Here’s a quick look at the changes in group health insurance for 2018.

Micro Group (1-2 employees)
The biggest change this year is regarding the micro policies with 1 or 2 employees/owners insured. Last year the floodgates opened and very small companies that previously did not qualify for group insurance were able to enroll as a group. Group policies have lower premiums and better benefits than individual policies so this was a great option last year. The carriers have revised their position on the 1 and 2 person policies due to high losses in this segment.

The requirements for one and two person policies are outlined below:
Blue Cross – Two non-owner, W-2 employees enrolling; a spouse of the owner cannot be classified as an employee.

United Healthcare – One employee and one owner or two employees; a spouse of the owner cannot be classified as an employee.

Small Group (2-50 employees)
The landscape of small group plans isn’t changing much. Blue Cross and United Healthcare continue to offer a complete package of plans from Gold to Bronze. Aetna (formerly Coventry) will only offer one plan in 2018, a Silver copay plan. While we hate to see the options condensed even further, Aetna hasn’t been active in the Nebraska small group market for a few years due to high pricing.

Rate wise, you can expect to see increases in the 20% range. This will vary based upon your plan and location.

Mid Market (51+ employees)
Rates in the mid-market segment are fairly stable. The biggest determinate of your renewal increase will be plan usage and large claims. Aetna, Blue Cross and United Healthcare are all active in the mid-market segment as well as self-funded plans. Self-funded policies may be a good option for healthy groups. If you know of significant medical conditions within your group a fully-insured policy will likely be your best choice.

Are you wondering about group insurance options for your business? Call Brian McPike at ComPro to discuss your questions at (402) 488-5100.

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