5 Questions to Ask Before Purchasing Employee Health Insurance

July 25, 2017by Alex Strautman

If you’re looking to change your current health insurance benefits for employees – or you’re considering offering health insurance benefits to employees for the first time – there are some key questions you need to ask as you investigate options for your business.


How can I control my health care costs?

One reason employers like private health insurance exchanges is Defined Contribution, which gives you the ability to set the amount you want to spend on health benefits for your employees each year. You can choose to contribute either a fixed dollar amount or fixed percentage of the insurance premium for your employees – for example, 50% of the lowest-cost plan option. Whatever amount you choose to contribute, that dollar amount is locked in for 12 months, giving you complete control over what you’re spending. If an employee selects a health plan that costs more than your generous contribution, he or she simply pays the different.


What kind of benefits should I offer my employees?

Your employees are all different and have unique needs, which makes it difficult to find a single benefit type that everyone loves. Our recommendation is to find a program offering your employees a variety of different benefit types, like HMOs, PPOs, and Health Saving Account-compatible plans. This way your employees have a selection and can find a benefit plan that makes sense for their individual or family needs.


Can I offer multiple health insurance plans?

Similar to offering different benefit plan types, like HMO or PPO options, offering a selection of different health insurance plans can also be beneficial. As the employer, you have the option to offer a single health insurance plan or to work with a program like CaliforniaChoice, which packages seven different health insurance plans into one program. This means instead of having your employees choose from one option, they instead get to choose from:

  • Anthem Blue Cross
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Health Net
  • Sharp Health Plan
  • Sutter Health
  • UnitedHealthcare
  • Western Health Advantage


Health Insurance only? Are there other benefits to consider?

As an employer, you can build an employee benefits portfolio that includes just health insurance or more; it’s up to you. Many businesses offer additional benefits like dental, vision, life – even chiropractic and acupuncture! It really depends on what you want to spend. It’s also important to take into consideration how you manage different types of options. For example, you can work with a health, dental, vision, and life carrier independently, or you can work with a private exchange like CaliforniaChoice where these types of options are available and bundled into one program, making it much easier to manage.


What about administration – will it be a lot of work for me or my staff?

When comparing carriers, ease of administration is important. Maybe you’re worried about how much time you’ll spend administering all of your employees’ coverage. If you offer multiple plans, or plans from different carriers, does that mean multiple bills to pay each month? It doesn’t with a multi-carrier private exchange. If your business has 10 employees, it’s possible to offer them a range of health plans and still get just one bill for all of their coverage. And making changes throughout the year is easy, too – with one phone number and one website for assistance.


One Final Consideration…

Choosing the right health insurance and benefits partner is important. If you don’t already have an employee benefits broker, we can help you find a CaliforniaChoice broker to speak with about health insurance for your business and your employees.


Shopping for group health insurance?

This guide compiles a list of common questions you may have before you start offering health insurance coverage.