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If you are in San Diego and want to offer your employees access to premier medical facilities like Scripps Memorial, UCSD Medical Center, Rady Children’s Hospital, and Sharp Memorial Hospital, you owe it to yourself to check out the Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) Medical Plan from Anthem Blue Cross. It gives your small business savings on employee health insurance premiums, while also offering the top-tier health care providers employees and their loved ones want most.

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The American Health Care Act (AHCA) – the GOP replacement to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – that narrowly passed the U.S. House of Representatives in early May is now being considered by the U.S. Senate. One of the provisions of the ACA repeal and replacement legislation is the elimination of the small business tax credit for employers who purchase coverage through the federal Small Business Health Options Program, otherwise known as the SHOP exchange. While the SHOP exchange may be coming to an end (it’s up in the air until the Senate acts), it may have minimal impact on businesses with fewer than 25 employees that are eligible to buy coverage through SHOP. That’s because it has never really drawn a lot of interest from employers. Employee Benefits Adviser said in an article last month that since opening in November 2014, that in its first year, SHOP drew only 10,700 small business employers and 85,000 workers nationwide.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and Small Business Administration have declined to update SHOP participation in the past year. Nevertheless, small business enrollment in private exchanges continues to climb. In California, the small group private exchange CaliforniaChoice operated by CHOICE Administrators has seen its membership grow more than 200 percent in the past six and one-half years. It currently serves more than 18,000 groups and 326,000 members, all in California. Earlier this year, Benefits Pro, an online publication for benefits professionals, reported that more than eight million people are enrolled in private exchanges in the U.S. And it’s easy to understand why employers are attracted to a private health insurance exchange. It can help them increase their benefits options for employers, while still giving them the opportunity to control costs through Defined Contribution.

According to a 2016 study by the Private Exchange Research Council, which analyzed hundreds of thousands of benefit purchases made by workers in an employer-sponsored private exchange, the average group offers 14 different benefit options and six medical plans through a private exchange. Older workers, such as Baby Boomer and Gen Xers, are more likely to buy more coverage – over 40 percent purchased four or more products each as compared to less than one-third (30 percent) of Millennials.   If you would like to learn more about private health insurance exchanges, and how you can expand the options available to your employees, while still controlling your group’s insurance and related expenses, talk with your employee benefits broker. If you don’t already have a broker, we’ll help you find a CaliforniaChoice broker to speak with about the options available to your group.

The latest enrollment figures for CaliforniaChoice show it continues to attract new membership. Enrolled groups now exceed 18,000 employers and 326,000 members, which includes enrolled employees and their dependents. So, what’s attracting more employers to CaliforniaChoice? Of course, each group has its own reasons, but three principle reasons more organizations are choosing CaliforniaChoice are budget control, the private exchange’s carrier and plan roster, and streamlined administration and Affordable Care Act compliance.

Increased budget control

Managing your company’s health care costs is a big concern, but it’s easy with Defined Contribution from CaliforniaChoice. That’s because you choose the amount you want to contribute toward your employee’s health care benefits – a Fixed Percentage (50% to 100%) of a specific health plan and/or benefit or a Fixed Dollar Amount for each employee. Your employees then apply your generous contribution to whichever health plan and benefits they prefer. If an employee selects a plan that costs more than your contribution, he or she pays the difference. It’s that simple. At renewal, you have the option to adjust your employer contribution – up or down – giving you complete control over what you spend on your employee benefits, year after year.  

Carrier and plan roster

Instead of purchasing health insurance from a single health insurance carrier, with CaliforniaChoice, you and your employees have a selection of seven different, top-rated carriers offering dozens of plans. One of your employees might choose a PPO or EPO from Anthem Blue Cross because it includes a particular doctor or hospital in the Anthem network that he or she wants. Another employee who rarely visits the doctor might choose an HMO from Kaiser Permanente or a regional carrier. A third employee might choose a Health Savings Account (HSA) compatible HMO from UnitedHealthcare because of cost and tax considerations. With CaliforniaChoice, employees have access to a number of full and limited networks that include a wide variety of doctors, specialists, and hospitals up and down the state. And you can give your employees a choice of two Affordable Care Act metal tiers (Platinum/Gold, Gold/Silver, or Silver/Bronze), which significantly increases the number of plans and doctors available to them. Offering this level of choice — without increasing your benefits costs, as compared to a single health plan solution — gives you a recruiting advantage, too, and a powerful tool to help you keep your current employees.  

Streamlined administration and compliance

Many employers like CaliforniaChoice because it offers consolidated billing and administration. Whether you have one employee or 100, you’ll get one monthly bill that lists all of your employees’ coverage, your contribution, and employee deductions. You can also pay your bill and manage your employee benefits online at com. Plus, all of the plans available through CaliforniaChoice are compliant with the Affordable Care Act, so you know you’re offering valuable benefits that are in line with federal guidelines.   To find out more about CaliforniaChoice, and how it can help you expand your employees’ options, control your costs, and streamline your benefits administration, contact your employee benefits broker. If you don’t already have a broker, we’ll help you find a CaliforniaChoice broker to speak with about the health care options available to your group.

[Infographic] LA County Employers Enjoy EPO Savings

Imagine saving money on your group’s health insurance coverage while still getting access to top-tier health care providers? Los Angeles County small businesses with an Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) Medical Plan from Anthem Blue Cross get access to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Huntington Memorial, Providence Saint John’s Health Center, and other leading providers while still enjoying affordable premiums. Insurance Savings for Los Angeles County Small Business  

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Broker Driven

At CaliforniaChoice, part of our job is giving you the tools to make the best decisions for your business and your employees, and our brokers are one of the best tools we have. Brokers help you make sure your plan coverage is sufficient for your company’s needs and your budget.