UHA Worksite Wellness

4 Things Employers Should Consider When Choosing a Health Insurance Provider

Written by Kim Soares on January 27, 2015. Posted in Healthcare, Post

Health plans have important roles to play in your healthcare: 1) assisting you in understanding your benefits and helping you navigate the complex system of healthcare; 2) providing you access to appropriate high-quality health care; and 3) protecting you from devastating financial loss due to medical expenses.

The cost of healthcare continues to soar, driving health insurance premiums upward. That’s why it’s all the more important to consider value-for-money when comparing plan options.

But with all of the different plan options available, where do you start?

Shopping for health insurance for your employees may feel complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. As with most big decisions, the best strategy is to determine your top priorities before you begin to compare options. Doing so not only helps to ensure that you get the coverage you need, but it also lessens the chances that you’ll get overwhelmed by options that are less relevant to you and your team.

Here are four key things to consider when researching and comparing the true value of each health insurance plan:

1. Personalized Service

One of the most important things to consider when evaluating health insurance providers is the service they provide to your team. At first glance, this may seem like a relatively minor facet, but when you consider all of the work involved in enrolling your employees, handling their questions and coverage needs, making changes to your plan, or submitting claims, it’s clear that having easy-to-use, accessible resources and helpful customer service can make a big difference. Look for an insurance provider who offers online tools (like online enrollment and mobile access to member services) and easy-to-reach customer support. These resources can make your team more much efficient at handling health insurance needs, and thus offer a considerable advantage. Find out about how each plan manages the care of their members. And finally, ask each plan how they rank in customer service and find out what their current customers think about them.

2. ACA Compliant Benefits & Beyond

The Affordable Care Act has helped to ensure that all new health insurance plans include a core set of essential health benefits (EHBs) for individuals and small businesses up to 50 employees. EHBs include minimum coverage for prescription drugs, pediatric oral (dental), and pediatric vision care that must be included in all new plans. When ranking your options, then, look beyond these core offerings to see what additional coverage each plan offers. Find out what additional benefits are being offered such as chiropractic care and acupuncture. These kinds of additional offerings are where plans truly distinguish themselves.

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3. Large Provider Network

Is this a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) or a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)? Is your primary provider included? Do you need a referral to see a specialist? Will you be covered during travel out-of-state or out-of-country? Great benefits are only great if you can use them where and when you need to, so be sure to consider the network of providers included in each of the health insurance plans you consider. The larger the network of providers and specialists, the easier it is for your team to access affordable care. Find out how each plan works with their healthcare providers to ensure their members receive individualized attention with safe, timely and cost-effective health care.

4. Wellness & Preventative Care Services

Health care isn’t just about treatment – it’s also about knowing how to prevent needing to see a physician. Look for a health insurance provider who offers extensive online resources and health information, so that employees can learn more about taking an active role in their health. They should ideally also offer preventive health resources (immunizations, health workshops, etc.) and wellness programs. These resources increase employee engagement and satisfaction, which in turn can help increase productivity and minimize your health care costs.

Providing your team with access to health resources and programs is one of the best ways to support their well-being and minimize health care expenses. That’s why the right health insurance plan is best viewed as an investment in your team’s present and future health. Comparing options based on these four core considerations can help you make the most of this important choice by focusing on what really matters, and getting to the heart of what distinguishes the best-value plans from the rest.

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Kim Soares

VP of Business Development

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