April 26, 2018
CaliforniaChoice Private Exchange Delivers Convenience – Like Amazon, Expedia, and Other Online Comparison Tools
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) introduced the concept of a public health insurance exchange (like HealthCare.gov) to most Americans. However, what many business owners and benefits managers may not realize is that California has been home to the most-successful private health insurance exchange for more than 20 years. The CaliforniaChoice private exchange for small businesses was introduced in 1996. It was the first multi-carrier, employee-choice program established by a private organization specifically to help employers with 100 or fewer employees find affordable health insurance.
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A Look Back at Its OriginThe private health exchange concept grew out of a need to give small employers more options than a single-carrier solution. In the 1980s, small businesses were generally only able to choose a single carrier to meet the needs of their entire staff. Employees often did not like the “one size fits all” approach, so the multi-carrier program was born. It broadened the options available and gave employees the power to find a carrier and benefit plan that made sense for their individual needs.
How Does a Private Exchange Work?With a multi-carrier private exchange, like CaliforniaChoice, you determine the amount you want to spend on your employees’ benefits. You can choose a Fixed Percentage (50% to 100%) of a specific plan and/or benefit, or you can choose to contribute a Fixed Dollar Amount for each employee. It’s your choice. Your employees then get to choose the HMO, PPO, or other coverage that best fits their individual or family health care needs. Like with travel aggregator websites like Priceline and Expedia, a health exchange gives your employees the ability to shop and compare plans before making a choice. Each employee applies your contribution toward the cost of the health plan they like best. If the cost for their preferred plan exceeds your contribution, they simply pay the difference. And everything is consolidated on a single bill, regardless of what each employee selects. The table below shows other ways an exchange is similar to online tools you may already be using. It includes the value-added benefits offered by each and the value-added features of CaliforniaChoice, the only multi-carrier exchange in California developed for small businesses.
|Product or Service Category||Direct (Single Source)||Consolidated (Multi-Source)|
|New and Used Autos or Trucks||Individual dealerships – you have only vehicles from one manufacturer from which to choose||Shop for every brand using an auto megastore.|
|Retail||Individual stores – you have only a single brand to shop: Nike, Coach, Brookstone, etc.||Shop online or at big-box stores like Amazon and Costco, where you can find multiple brands.|
|Real Estate Nationwide||You can view listings for only one location/metro area at a time using city-specific franchisees of Coldwell Banker, Better Homes & Garden, and RE/MAX.||You can view and compare properties nationwide using online services like Redfin, Zillow, or Trulia.|
|Fashion||Individual stores – you can shop only a single brand: ALDO, Burberry, J. Crew, Levi’s, Tommy Bahama, Calvin Klein.||You can shop and compare multiple brands at department stores like Nordstrom and Macy’s.|
|Travel||You can visit individual hotel, airplane, and rental car websites and view only one brand at a time.||You can shop and compare multiple hotels, airlines, and car rental firms – planning your vacation through a single site like Priceline and Expedia.|
|Small Business Health Insurance||Carrier-direct health care: you can get coverage directly from a single carrier – limiting choice for your employees.||You can shop and compare plans from seven different differ health plans through CaliforniaChoice.|