How to Manage Employee Benefit Costs and Offer the Coverage They Want

October 16, 2023by Alex Strautman

You’ve likely heard the forecasts for employee benefits costs in 2024 and it might be a bit unnerving. In its survey of 450 employers, Wills Towers Watson (WTW) found most are expecting a 5.4% increase in their employer-sponsored health coverage in 2024. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) Health Research Institute is expecting a 7% year-over-year increase in costs, according to a published report.

In its survey, Mercer, a unit of Marsh McLennan, found two-thirds of employers are not planning to shift more costs to employees. So, if you are among that group, what are your options?

CaliforniaChoice is a solution both employers and employees appreciate. Here’s why.

Greater Choice Within Your Budget

CaliforniaChoice offers you and your employees more choices than any other single carrier health care solution in California. It’s the ideal option for today’s workplace, which is more diverse than ever. With CaliforniaChoice, you can offer employees a program that includes HMOs, PPOs, EPOs (Exclusive Provider Organization plans), and Health Savings Account-qualified High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs).

More small businesses in California are turning to CaliforniaChoice because it includes:

  • Eight health plans and 20+ networks – through a single health program.
  • A choice of 130+ options across all four ACA tiers: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.
  • Cost control with Defined Contribution – you choose how much you want to put toward employees’ insurance. They apply your contribution to the cost of the plan they like best. If they choose a plan that costs more than you’re contributing, employees pay the difference.
  • Greater access to providers – including 80,000+ doctors and nearly 400 hospitals.
  • Options for Dental, Vision, Acupuncture + Chiropractic, and Life Insurance.
  • Consolidated billing – there’s one bill for all employees’ coverage, even if your employees enroll in plans from different health plan.

This is how it works.

You might choose a PPO from Anthem Blue Cross to access a particular doctor in the Anthem network. One of your employees might prefer a local or regional HMO like Sutter Health Plus, Western Health Advantage, or Sharp Health Plan. Another employee might want an HMO plan from Health Net, Kaiser Permanente, or UnitedHealthcare. Others can choose an EPO from Anthem or Cigna + Oscar. With CaliforniaChoice, it’s the employee’s choice.

In a year, you can adjust your premium contribution up or down. That gives you complete control over what you’re spending for another 12 months. Your employees can change plans and still stay in the CaliforniaChoice program. It’s a win-win.

The True Cost Is More Than Premium

Oftentimes when business owners and health plan participants are looking at their options, premium is the only consideration. But it’s important to remember that the cheapest plan may not actually be the least expensive.

As shown on the website, a Bronze tier medical plan offers the lowest monthly premium. Keep in mind, though, it comes with the highest costs when you need care. The deductibles and copays required before your insurance plan begins can add up to thousands of dollars annually. That means it could be less cost-effective than a Silver or Gold plan. While the higher tiers may come with higher premiums, the copays and deductibles may be lower. If you need care on a regular basis, the higher-cost plans could be a lesser expense in the long term.

Contact a Broker to Learn More

To learn more about CaliforniaChoice and why it has a 94% retention rate with customers, ask your broker about the program. They can walk you through the choices CaliforniaChoice affords you and your employees and provide a custom quote for your business.

If you don’t have a broker, we make it easy to search for one.

Shopping for group health insurance?

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