Choice Stories

November 19, 2021

Helping Employees Understand the Advantages of Group Health

The decision to offer group health insurance to employees is not always an easy one for a business owner or manager to make. While most employers want to do the right thing and make health coverage available to workers, the cost can sometimes be an obstacle.

Even if your business is an Applicable Large Employer (ALE), your workers may not fully value it. (Find out more about ALEs on the IRS website.) What can you tell them to help employees appreciate their group health coverage?

Group Vs. Individual Coverage

If your employees were insured before under a group health plan, they make take health insurance benefits for granted. That’s not unusual, although some are reconsidering their health insurance options in response to COVID-19.

What’s important for you and them to know is not every group health plan is the same. If you offer the CaliforniaChoice private exchange, employees get more choice. You also gain the ability to control your annual benefits costs.

Unlike coverage through a single insurer, CaliforniaChoice offers:

  • Dozens of HMO, PPO, EPO, and HSA-qualified options from eight health plans
  • Coverage from Anthem Blue Cross, Cigna + Oscar, Kaiser Permanente, Health Net, and UnitedHealthcare
  • Coverage from regional health plans like Sharp Health Plan, Sutter Health Plus, and Western Health Advantage
  • Access to 80,000+ doctors and 400+ hospitals – more than any other program in California.

You control how much you want to put toward employees’ benefits. You can choose a fixed dollar amount or a fixed percentage contribution. Plus, when you choose coverage from CaliforniaChoice, you’re able to lock in your cost for 12 months.

Group health insurance offers many advantages over individual health:

  • Employees typically only pay a portion of the cost of group coverage
  • With an individual or family plan, employees pay 100% of the premium on their own
  • Employees may also have more options available through their employer than on their own
  • Rather than a single plan option, group coverage may include a range: HMOs, PPOs, EPOs, Point of Service, High Deductible Health Plans, and Health Savings Account-qualified plans
  • Employee premiums are paid through automated payroll deductions
  • With group coverage, there are no payment due dates to worry about, no checks to write, and no required postage

Value-Added Benefits

Coverage offered through an employer may also come with “extras” at no added cost to the employee – or your business. For example, CaliforniaChoice offers two programs that offer many benefits to your business and your employees.

The CaliforniaChoice Business Solutions Suite includes:

  • Online HR Support Center: 24/7 human resources support from Mineral. The Center offers downloadable and customizable handbooks, company policies, job descriptions, and forms. You also get summaries of state and federal laws that could affect your business and your workers, a glossary of HR terms and definitions, and more.
  • Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) for employees: Givesemployees the opportunity to pay for eligible health care-related expenses with pre-tax dollars. That helps employees save on taxes and lowers your required FICA contributions. (For groups with 15+ employees)
  • Premium Only Plans (POPs) for employees: A Section 125/Premium Only Plan is available, too. Employees can pay their share of Medical and Dental premiums with pre-tax dollars. Employees take home more of their paychecks, and your business saves on FICA and Workers’ Comp with lower taxable payroll. (CaliforniaChoice covers the initial set-up cost.)
  • Cal-COBRA or Federal COBRA billing services: Your business may be eligible for free Cal-COBRA or federal COBRA services. Each applies when an eligible enrollee loses coverage due to a qualifying life event. (State or federal services depend on group size)

The CaliforniaChoice Member Value Suite includes discounts on a wide range of things that you and your employees want:

  • Entertainment: Cal-Perks® offers reduced-cost tickets to movies, theme parks, water parks, sporting events, museums, travel, food delivery, gifts, and more.
  • Health Products: Members can save up to 57% on Garmin, Vitamix, and Fitbit products and get a $25 a month fitness membership.
  • Dental Care: Take advantage of reduced fees on Dental care at thousands of Dentegra® Smile Club dentists nationwide.
  • Vision Care: Get frame, lenses, and eye exam discounts at participating retailers nationwide,
  • Hearing Care: Save up to 50% on brand-name hearing aids – and get discounted batteries, too.
  • Prescription Drugs: Save on medications with the California Rx Card. It could reduce your out-of-pocket to less than your Rx co-pay with insurance.

Learn More from a Broker

There are so many benefits to CaliforniaChoice – and to group health insurance in general. Be sure your employees understand the advantages. To learn more about how CaliforniaChoice can expand employees’ options and save money for your business, talk with a broker.

It may surprise you to learn that a broker’s services do not cost you anything. In fact, using a benefits professional could save you money. That’s because an experienced broker has the expertise to help you find coverage to fit your employees – and your budget. If you don’t already have a broker, we can help you find one.

Your Beginner's Guide to Choosing a Small Business Employee Benefits Program

Do you need help choosing the right health benefits for your employees?
This guide can help!