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At CaliforniaChoice, we offer the most comprehensive array of health plan options in the state. But, we’re not stopping there. The CaliforniaChoice Member Value Suite offers outstanding savings to you and your employees on a range of products, services, and activities. Best of all, it’s available at no added cost to your business.

Here’s a look at what’s available through the Member Value Suite:

Entertainment

The no-cost Cal Perks® program offers big savings on movies, theme parks, water parks, sporting events, travel, tax prep, retailers, and more.

Health Products

The ChooseHealthyTM program delivers discounts of up to 57% on Garmin®, Vitamix®, and Fitbit® products. It also offers fitness memberships for $25 per month, and 25% savings on specialty health care practitioners in acupuncture, chiropractic, and therapeutic massage.

Dental Care

CaliforniaChoice members enjoy reduced fees on hundreds of procedures at participating Dentegra® dentists throughout California and nationwide. Dentegra delivers instant savings without claim forms or waiting periods.

Vision Care

The EyeMed® Vision One Eyecare program offers discounts on exams, frames, and lenses at participating LensCrafters, Pearle Vision, Sears, and Target locations nationwide.

Hearing Services

Your employees can save up to 50% on brand-name hearing aids, and enjoy additional discounts on testing, batteries, and other devices through the EPIC® Hearing Service Plan.

Prescription Drugs

The California Rx Card saves you and your employees up to 80% on brand name and generic prescription drugs. The card can often reduce your out-of-pocket cost to less than your Rx co-pay with insurance.

If you’re thinking about whether CaliforniaChoice is the right health care choice for your small business, be sure to consider the added benefits available to you and your employees through the Member Value Suite. They deliver valuable extras – and they’re free to you and your employees exclusively through the CaliforniaChoice program.

Talk with Your Agent to Learn More

If you are interested in getting a quote for CaliforniaChoice and learning more about the no-cost Member Value Suite – talk with your employee benefits agent. If you do not already have an agent, we can help you find one.

The unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in 50 years. Offering competitive compensation and employee benefits packages is key to recruiting and retaining top talent. Knowing what benefits other companies offer their employees is important when defining your budget and the benefits options for your business.

Health Benefits

Health insurance is among the most-popular employee benefits offered today. The Bureau of Labor Statistics at the U.S. Department of Labor said in September 2019 that the national access rate to medical care benefits for full-time workers was 87 percent and the take-up rate was 74 percent.

The 2019 Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) Employer Health Benefits Survey also found 82 percent of workers with a medical plan have a deductible – similar to a 2018 survey and up from 63 percent a decade ago. More than one-quarter (28%) of workers – including nearly half (45%) of those at firms with fewer than 200 workers – are in plans with a deductible of at least $2,000, up nearly four times the number from 10 years ago.

According to the Employee Benefits 2019 study by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), 70 percent of organizations maintained health care benefits at existing levels in 2019, while 20 percent increased them and three percent decreased them. Eighty-five percent of organizations offered a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) health insurance plan. High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs) paired with a Health Savings Account (HSA) or Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) were offered by 59 percent of organizations taking part in the SHRM study.

Dental and Vision Insurance

KFF’s 2019 survey found 60 percent of firms (including 92 percent of large firms) offer separate dental coverage, while 46 percent (including 83 percent of large firms) offer separate vision insurance. Employers sometimes contribute to the cost of this coverage, but it is often voluntary – with employees paying the full cost of insurance.

Other Coverage

SHRM found the vast majority (83%) of employers taking part in their 2019 study offer Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D) insurance, 71 percent offer long-term disability, 61 percent offer short-term disability (STD), and 27 percent offer accident insurance. Accident insurance was down by nearly half from 2015, when 51 percent of employers offered coverage.

Benefits Bundle Options

With a multi-carrier, private exchange like CaliforniaChoice, your employees can choose from eight different health plans for the medical coverage that best meets their unique needs. One employee might choose a PPO or Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) plan from Anthem Blue Cross because of a particular doctor or hospital in their network. Another employee who rarely visits the doctor might choose an HMO from Kaiser Permanente. A third employee might choose an HSA-compatible plan from UnitedHealthcare because of cost and tax considerations. An added plus, all of these different health plans — and others — available through CaliforniaChoice are billed together, and you have just one monthly bill for all of your employees’ coverage.

In addition, CaliforniaChoice offers you and your employees access to value-added extras through the Member Value Suite at no cost. That includes discount dental services, savings on vision care, employee discounts on entertainment (like movies, theme parks, sporting events, travel, and more), hearing services savings, and a prescription drug card that can reduce your cost to less than your Rx co-pay with insurance.

You can learn more from your employee benefits agent. If you don’t have an agent, you can find one here.

Health care costs have been climbing for years and show no signs of slowing down. Increases to deductibles and copays have become the norm. For most small businesses, rising premiums are a frequent cause for concern. In the midst of rate increases, business owners want to know how much they should pay. It’s a simple question with a not-so-simple answer.

ALE Requirements

With all things health care, we must begin with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA defines an Applicable Large Employer (ALE) as an organization with 50 or more full-time and full-time equivalent (FTE) employees, on average, during the prior year. If you are an ALE, your organization is subject to the ACA employer shared responsibility provision and employer reporting requirements. For more information, visit the IRS website page on ALEs.

Under the shared responsibility provision, the health insurance coverage offered to employees must be “affordable” and must provide “minimum value” to your full-time employees and their dependents. If coverage is not affordable or does not offer minimum value, a business could be subject to a penalty if at least one full-time employee receives a premium tax credit for individual coverage purchased through Covered California, the state public exchange set up in connection with the ACA.

The ACA affordability threshold changes annually. In 2019, coverage was considered affordable if the lowest-cost, self-only coverage option available to employees did not exceed 9.86 percent of an employee’s household income (up from 9.56 in 2018). In 2020, the threshold has been reduced to 9.78 percent.

Average Costs for Employers

The 2019 Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) Employer Health Benefits Survey found that employers were contributing an average of 77% of a plan’s cost. However, that 77% is not uniform across the board. Upon closer inspection, the average was found to fluctuate based on coverage. For example, employers were found to contribute 82% for single coverage, while contributing just under 71% for family coverage. That translates into an average contribution cost of $5,946 for single coverage and $14,561 for family coverage.

Your Contribution Options

Generally, for employer-sponsored health coverage, insurers require a contribution from the employer of at least 50%. In this scenario, the cost is contingent on several key factors such as carrier, plan type, provider network, and location. A viable alternative, like CaliforniaChoice’s Defined Contribution, lets you choose your premium contribution. You can select a Fixed Percentage of costs (from 50% to 100%) or a Fixed Dollar Amount for each employee.


 

How Much Should You Pay?

There is no blanket answer to this question. However, there are several good reasons most businesses pay 20 to 30 percent above the required minimum:

Tax Benefits

It is important to note that offering health insurance benefits to your employees is, generally, 100% tax deductible as an ordinary business expenses on your state and federal income taxes. For an additional tax benefit, be sure to ask your employee benefits agent about a Premium Only Plan (POP), which gives your employees the ability to pay their share of premiums with pre-tax dollars – while also reducing your payroll taxes.

Average Costs

In summary, the average business is paying around 77% of a health plan’s cost, which amounts to $10,253.50 per year. While it is very likely your workforce will benefit greatly from a high employer contribution, there are cost-controlling options, like Defined Contribution, that let you take control of your health care costs. Of course, contribution requirements are wholly dependent on your business’ status as an ALE. If you are unsure if your organization is an ALE, you can use the calculator on the HealthCare.gov website or one on the CaliforniaChoice website.

Get a Custom Quote

To learn about the coverage and contribution options available to you and your business, talk with your health insurance agent. You can request a custom quote and discuss value-added benefits available to your group. If you do not already have an employee benefits agent, it’s easy to search for one here.