CaliforniaChoice Makes Finding the Right Health Insurance Easier for Small Businesses

August 26, 2021by Alex Strautman

As we head into a busy fall and open enrollment season, many businesses will be shopping for and comparing health coverage. This year, employers are taking a look at employee benefits from a different perspective. That’s because the pandemic forced people to reconsider what they want from a health plan.

If you’re considering offering coverage or making changes to an existing plan, here are some things to consider.

Choice and Affordability

The CaliforniaChoice private exchange offers several advantages, including employee choice and affordability:

  • A choice of HMO, PPO, EPO, and High Deductible Health Plan options from nine insurers in one program: Anthem Blue Cross, Cigna + Oscar, Health Net, Kaiser Permanente, Oscar, Sharp Health Plan, Sutter Health Plus, UnitedHealthcare, and Western Health Advantage
  • Cost control through Defined Contribution: You select your premium contribution for employee coverage – a Fixed Percentage of 50% to 100% of a specific plan and/or benefit or a Fixed Dollar Amount for each employee
  • Greater access to doctors, specialists, and hospitals – 80,000+ doctors and 400+ hospitals
  • Options to add comprehensive Dental, Vision, Chiropractic, and Life Insurance benefits
  • Value-added benefits through the Business Solutions Suite and Member Value Suite – including HR Support, Flexible Spending Accounts and Premium Only Plans for employees, COBRA or Cal-COBRA billing services, plus access to outstanding employee savings on entertainment, wellness, prescription drugs, and more
  • Easy administration and renewal – one monthly bill for all employees’ coverage, one website and one toll-free number to manage your benefits, and simplified renewal allowing you to change your Defined Contribution and employees to change plans and stay in the program

Employers and employees love the freedom and flexibility CaliforniaChoice offers. For example, one of your employees might choose a PPO plan because of its broad provider network. Another might select an HMO because of its cost savings. With CaliforniaChoice, they both get what they need.

Who You Cover Is Up to You

Employers subject to the ACA’s Employer Mandate are required to offer health coverage to full-time employees and their eligible dependents. However, if you are not an Applicable Large Employer (with at least 50 full-time employees, including full-time equivalents), you get to choose who you want to cover – full-time employees only or FTEs and their dependents. It’s your choice. (If you don’t know if you’re an ALE, visit the ACA Information Center on the IRS website.)

More Reasons to Consider Benefits

Beyond helping your business attract and retain top talent, health insurance and other employee benefits offer other advantages. Generally, as a business owner, you can deduct most (if not all) of the cost of your employees’ health insurance as a normal business expense.

According to the IRS, if you pay for accident and health insurance, your payments are not considered employee wages – and they are not subject to Social Security, Medicare, and Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) taxes or federal income tax withholding. Additionally, if your business is incorporated, and you are the owner of the business, your health insurance costs are also deductible.

It’s Easy to Learn More

According to MetLife’s 19th Annual U.S. Employee Benefit Trends Study 2021, because of the blending of home and work during 2020-2021, employees want (and are expecting) more flexibility. With CaliforniaChoice, it’s easy to give it to them – while also giving you the ability to control costs for your business.

To get a CaliforniaChoice quote for your employees, talk with your health insurance or employee benefits agent. It may surprise you to learn that using the services of a health insurance agent does not cost you anything. In fact, you could save money because an experienced agent has the expertise to help you find the most competitive benefits program. An agent can also ensure you and your employees have access to the doctors, specialists, and hospitals you want.

If you don’t already have an agent, we can help you find one.

Shopping for group health insurance?

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