Based on the real-world comparisons I’ve done for individuals and families in small group plans, most would benefit from enrolling in Covered California. Anecdotally, I’ve talked to several employers who either have or are considering terminating their group coverage.
Small Business Health Plans
Posts and documents related to employer based small group health plans in California, plans, requirements, employees, enrollment.
Under California legislation SB 78, employees of small groups who had previously waived coverage will have a Special Enrollment Period to sign up for health insurance through their employer for 2020.
Between the single carrier option or the small group exchanges, it doesn’t appear that one has better rates over the other. In general, HMO plans will always be less expensive than PPO plans. You should get quotes for plans from a single carrier as well as the small group exchanges. Even though the information can seem overwhelming, that’s where your insurance agent can help filter out carriers and plans that don’t fit your needs.
The first comparison was of two individuals at a Sacramento company enrolled in a Sutter small group HMO Silver plan. The rate for the 60-year-old employee is $838 and $688 for the 56-year-old employee. An IFP Silver plan directly from Sutter Health Plus HMO is $1,115 for the 60-year-old and $958 for the 56-year-old. The IFP rate is 25% and 28% higher than the small group plan at the respective ages. The lowest IFP plan available to these employees in the Sacramento region is a Kaiser Silver HMO plan at $990 for age 60 and $851 for age 56.
Why should your employment dictate whether your health insurance is worse or exponentially better than your neighbors? Shouldn’t all health plans be the same? The human condition does not change depending on who you work for. The individual who works for the State of California, a union, or a self-insured plan can have the same health conditions as a self-employed individual. People routinely move from large group plans to individual and family plans and their health conditions don’t change. But the price and member cost sharing is far higher under small group and individual and family plans than it is with some of the union plans. Is that fair?
The big question is how do all these dental tools included in the dental plan help reduce the premiums. The tooth brushes wirelessly connect to a Beam application on the member’s smart phone. Yes, your toothbrush will use Bluetooth technology – isn’t that ironic – to log your household’s brushing frequency. All the frequencies from all the members in the group are then aggregated to provide a score. If the score is high enough, any future rate increase on the renewal date of the dental plan is reduced.
Under the Department’s new rule, AHPs can serve employers in a city, county, state, or a multi-state metropolitan area, or a particular industry nationwide. Sole proprietors as well as their families will be permitted to join such plans. In addition to providing more choice, the new rule makes insurance more affordable for small businesses. Just like plans for large employers, these plans will be customizable to tailor benefit design to small businesses’ needs. These plans will also be able to reduce administrative costs and strengthen negotiating power with providers from larger risk pools and greater economies of scale.
Consumers receive letters from Covered California stating that their estimated income doesn’t match with their most recent federal tax return. This has led many consumers to assume that Covered California can actually view a taxpayer’s federal return. Covered California can’t see a consumer’s federal tax return unless they send it to them to verify their income.
One of the most frustrating aspects of the Affordable Care Act is that it excludes family members from receiving the premium tax credits to reduce their health insurance if one of the parents is offered affordable employer group health insurance. One way around this problem is for the employer to offer employee only coverage. Covered California for Small Business health insurance exchange offers the employee only option for employers when they set up their group health plans.
Covered California has released a series of marketing videos to develop interest and drive sales to their small employer group plans. Formerly known as SHOP (Small business Health insurance Options Program), the small employer group offerings, authorized as part of the Affordable Care Act, has been re-branded as Covered California for Small Business. The small employer group marketplace exchange initially flopped as it was beset with an online application process that failed and subsequent management problems that resulted in billing nightmares for many clients. Fortunately, they seem to have righted the foundering small group boat at Covered California.