Why CaliforniaChoice Works for Small Companies

September 7, 2023by Alex Strautman

CaliforniaChoice is a strong option for employers looking to provide flexible benefits to their employees. It can be especially attractive to small business owners and managers. That’s because CaliforniaChoice allows you to offer “big business benefits” even if you’re running a small business.

Our program gives you and your employees the ability to choose a health insurance plan to fit your health care needs at a price that fits your budget. We offer a wide variety of health care options from which your employees can choose. You can choose from HMO (Health Maintenance Organization), EPO (Exclusive Provider Organization), and PPO (Preferred Provider Organization plans. We also have Health Savings Account-compatible High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs).

CaliforniaChoice offers coverage for groups with up to 100 employees. So, whether you have one employee, five employees, 35, 50, or 100, we’re a good option that offers more to you and your employees.

If you have 50 or more full-time employees (or the right combination of full-time and part-time workers), your business may be an Applicable Large Employer (ALE). That means, under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) employer mandate, you’re required to offer health coverage that is affordable, provides mimimum essential coverage, and meets the minimum value requirements to 95% of your full-time employees. Don’t worry, though. All CaliforniaChoice plans meet the ACA coverage requirements.

If you are not sure if you’re an ALE, you can use a group size calculator to determine your ALE status. CaliforniaChoice and the Internal Revenue Service both offer ALE Calculators. You can visit either website to access these tools.

The Importance of Benefits

Whatever your business size, employee benefits can be a significant differentiator. They help attract and retain top talent, reduce employee absences, encourage employee loyalty, and lift overall job satisfaction.

In workplace surveys year after year, health insurance consistently ranks among employees’ preferred benefits. According to the 2023 MetLife Employee Benefit Trends Study, medical/health insurance ranked as a top must-have benefit by nearly four-fifths (79%) of employees. It surpassed paid leave, a 401(k) or other retirement plan, dental insurance, or vision care insurance (or a vision discount program).

Yet, in spite of all of the interest by employees in health insurance, finding a program that can help you address all employees’ needs can be a challenge. That’s where CaliforniaChoice comes in.

Serving Employers Since 1996

CaliforniaChoice has been working with small businesses for more than 27 years. We were California’s first private health insurance exchange. We offer you and your employees access to more health care providers than any other health insurance program in the state. So, you get “big business benefits” without being a big business.

You and employees can choose from 130+ options from eight leading insurers and health plans:

  • Anthem Blue Cross
  • Cigna + Oscar
  • Health Net
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Sharp Health Plan
  • Sutter Health Care
  • UnitedHealthcare
  • Western Health Advantage

Beyond plan choice, premium flexibility is another notable feature of CaliforniaChoice. Using Defined Contribution, you choose how much you want to contribute to employees’ premiums.

You can select a Fixed Percentage (50% to 100%) of a specific benefit. Or you can contribute a Fixed Dollar Amount for each employee. Your employees apply your generous contribution to whichever health plan and benefits they prefer. If any employee selects a plan that costs more than your contribution, they pay the difference.

Plus, at renewal, you have the option to change your premium contribution – up or down. That puts you in complete control over what you spend on benefits.

Value-Added Benefits

While CaliforniaChoice is focused on health insurance, we understand employees are looking for more. That’s why you’ll find value-added extras through our Business Solutions Suite and Member Value Suite, including:

  • A no-cost Premium Only Plan (POP)
  • State or federal COBRA participant invoicing, premium collection, and remittance (Cal-COBRA or COBRA billing services depend on your company’s group size.)
  • A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) (Available to groups with 15 or more employees.)
  • Rx discounts, an HSA Resource Center, and more
  • Reduced fees for Dental Care services through Dentegra® Smile Club providers
  • Savings on hearing tests, hearing aids, batteries, ear protection, swim plugs, and more
  • Prescription savings of up to 80% using the California Rx Card; you could reduce your Rx out-of-pocket costs to less than your health plan copay
  • A Cal Perks membership with savings on theme and water parks, sporting events, museums, movies, travel, and more.
  • Discounts on fitness center memberships and wellness

Talk With a Broker to Learn More

Ask your broker how you can offer more choices to your employees and still control costs for your business. CaliforniaChoice offers both – plus simplified administration and one bill for all coverage. If you don’t already have a broker, it’s easy to search for one at MyCalChoice.com.

Shopping for group health insurance?

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