How to Find Affordable Employee Benefits Insurance?

The endless hunt for affordable group health insurance and other lines of employee benefits insurance is never ending. This article will delve into the various ways your group can cut costs on your group's employee benefits. No matter your group size or needs we will have a solution that will fit your populace on Life, Vision, Dental, and Health Insurance. There are certain things you can do as an employer though to cut cost on your premium. This article will provide a brief overview of various ways you can reduce your premium and maximize your employee benefit plan options. First we will go actions all group sizes can take, then over small groups(Under 50 Lives), and finally large groups (over 50 Lives).

Group Health Insurance Savings For ALL

  • Quote Multiple Options

    With each passing year there are more Health Insurance Carriers and options flooding into the market. You are doing yourself a disservice if you are only quoting two options or exlusively quoting the legacy carriers each year. Each carrier looks at claims differently and even quote differently, meaning their rates can be drastically skewed. There are three ways to quote level self funded options: Claim Information, GRX (Census Quoting), and Health Questionnaires. I recommend using at least two of these three different quoting methodoligies. One could show a 20% savings over the other, it all depends on the case/carrier, and the health insurance broker you have.
  • Enlarged Pool of Employer Options

    There are options that bring together numerous groups into an enlarged pool that allows carriers/options to become more competitive (Law of Large Numbers). One example of this is the Association of General Contractors (AGC) Health Plan. We are one of the exlusive brokers that offers this plan. The AGC Health Plan automatically provides a 10% discount on premium as of now, and the discount may increase as the pool continues to grow. Additionally, there are options called PEOs. These options are also able to group together employers in an enlarged pool. Some of these options require you to move forward with their other services prior to being eligible for their group health plan (Payroll/HR/etc.). However, there are PEOs that allow you to quote their plan via an ASO model. Meaning you are able to choose from the various services you want and not the ones you do not need. For example: A group on an ASO model may be able to just utilize the health plan vs non ASO model where they would need to pay for all PEO services even if they do not use them. I am not here to preach against PEOs. We currently have clients in both traditional PEOs and ASO models currently it is just difficult sometimes for clients to gauge the right PEO model for their needs. Which leaves them feeling put off from the idea of a PEO in the future because of a lackluster experience and confusing process. Which is why it is pivotal to have access to an unbiased group benefits consultant during your review process to align your needs with the PEO options quoted. If you have any additional questions on PEO's reach out to Sanus Benefits. We should have a PEO quote deep dive tool live and active in the coming months. Stay tuned!
  • Direct Primary Care

    These Health Insurance options have become more prevalent in recent years with the constant rise in premium. While these groups do not offer coverage for places outside the designated facility the coverage is through, they are far more affordable generally than regular medical options. One example of a Direct Primary Care (DPC) plan is the Next Level Urgent Care Plan we offer currently. With the growth in this sector, I would not be suprised to see more of these plans offered by providers in the future.
  • Continuing Focused Education

    The state of the Health Insurance market for small-medium sized groups would be considered an oligopoly. In other words, there are realtively few carriers to choose from with the same levels of coverage. Yet, groups still think it is an acceptable practice to just change carriers each year at renewal. While groups receive lower rates when shopping their rates will still continue to rise due to not treting the root issue. This issue being your employees well being/health. It is fantastic to have lower copays/deductibles to lower the barrier to receive coverage, but another important aspect is employees being educated on the issues they may be more at risk for given their day to day life. This is where us as brokers/consultants/employers have fallen short in the past. Each year at renewal you should review the outlook for next year given your populace and tailor a e-mail campaign with monthly or weekly e-mails detailing various at risk conditions and ways to combat such conditions. These articles/videos need to be illustrative and provide actionable information to the employees. There is a influx of videos online that dive deep into all health related problems. You as the employer could even incentivize watching such videos/reading articles by putting a quiz at the end and rebating their premium for participation or just by giving them something ($5, Food, Ability to Leave 30 mins early one day, etc). The overall goal of such continuing education is to lower employee overall health insurance spend by treating problems before they escelate to a bigger more costly issue. Below is a link to an example quiz I created with a video from Youtube on ways to lower cholesterol. It is time for your broker/consultant/advisor to be strategic. Here at Sanus Benefits we allow all groups to implement this program to employees at no charge. We can even track who completes the quiz/time they did it. We are not a payroll/HR/P&C company we are a benefits company our main and only focus is improving groups health and lowering their overall spend.

Small Group Health Insurance Savings

Unfortunetly, groups in this demographic often have the most difficult time in finding affordable employee benefits. There are numerous reasons for this, but the main problem is that groups are unaware of the various plan options avaliable to them. I wish this wasnt the case, but more often than not most brokers in this market are not proactive with their quoting. They either dont care or do not want to put forth the effort to help cut your costs. This issue often leads groups to signing with options that are easy to quote and 'Fully Insured (Community Rated)'. If you are even a slightly healthy group this is not where you want to be. Community Rated plans are options that have no underwriting whatsoever. They give all groups a generic rate based off age/zipcode/gender of each employee. As you could assume, these rates generally are on the higher end, forcing groups to cut their benefits to HMO options just to afford the premium. The bullet points below will give you a few options.

  • Level Self Funded Options

    These options allow for underwriting on small groups. Some carriers will even allow underwriting for groups of two. Depending on your size, you may be required to fill out health questionnaires or provide claims information to quote some of these options. When groups see "level self funded", they focus on the self funded verbage and automatically assume they would be held accountable for the claims on the policy. This is not the case at all. On the contrary, your group will be charged the same premium month to month and will not be responsible for anything over that amount. In fact, most level self funded options allow you to receive a refund on unsued premium at the end of the policy year. Just be aware that underwriters are generally good about estimating claims, so don't expect to receive thousands back. However, refunds of $10,000 or more are sometimes delved out. All carriers offer a version of this, for example: United Healthcare (All Savers), Sana, All State, Humana, Blue Cross (Blue Balance), Cigna, and Aetna. To see a more detailed explanation of level self funded plans view the video below.

Level Self Funded Plan Options Explained

Large Group Health Insurance Savings

These employers generally have an easier time finding more affordable rates. However, some still fall victim to paying more than they should. This happens in numerous ways, maybe they continue to renew with their current option at a 5-7% increase each year because they are 'afraid to disrupt their workforce', they use a broker that only quotes two carriers year to year, and/or they do not review exlusive options such as aforementioned Association of General Contractors Health Plan. There are many other reasons groups this size could be overpaying. The best way to find out if your group is overpaying is by reaching out to a reputable Employee Benefits Broker. Unfortuently, unlike small groups, groups with over 50 employees are required by law to offer Minimum Essential Coverage. While also making it meet the affordability requirements, or your group will face penalties $$.

  • Deep Claims Dive

    Some carriers give detailed claims information in addition to the Premium vs Claims Report/High Claims Report you are used to seeing. With this detailed claims data and sometimes even without most brokers are able to do a 'deep dive' review of claims. This allows us to see if there were shock claims in the past year which could explain your high claims and make sure the quoting carriers are aware of it. It can also help reduce expenditure in the next year by seeing if some employees are taking higher costing prescriptions for their conditions when there is a generic equivelent. By no means do you need to force them to take generics but with thousands in savings, it may behoove your group to discuss implementing a step therapy for prescriptions allowing for employees to test run the generic and see if it is suitable. Impomenting strategic lower copays for certain at risk conditions will assist your group in being able to lower the overall cost. A couple of examples of this would be: Lowering copays for certain services (BloodWork/PhysicalTherapy), Implementing a Tobacco cessation program. Treating the at risk conditions at early onset with your staff will not only provide them with an overall better state of being, but will also drasticly reduce amount of expenditure year to year with claim issues. If you continue to let these issues fester with individuals opting out of seeking coverage due to high cost. You will see your claims spend continue to grow in the coming years. It is the great snowball effect of Health Insurance bad coverage will lead to larger claims and higher frequency of claims in the future. Which is why it is pivotal to have a skilled Employee Benefits broker like Sanus Benefits.

This article is merely meant to give you a high level overview on actions you can take to cut your Employee Benefits / Group Health Insurance costs. There are many aspects of the quoting process I did not touch on that are pertinent for your savings. The most sure fire method in ensuring you receive the best rates for you and your employees, is by receiveing a quote through Sanus Benefits. Unlike some competitors, we do not outsource any aspect of our benefits quoting/administration, process meaning your data is safe and secure. Try out our new 'state of the art' Employee Benefits Quoting Tool. This tool will assist your group in finding a plan that fits your needs while also granting you access to all necessary data points in making that determination. Click the request a quote button below to begin the quoting process. A video demo of the quoting tool can also be seen below. If you want to learn more, Our Youtube is regularly updated with new features as well.

Employee Benefits Quoting Tool Video