Affordable Health Insurance Changes With The Affordable Care Act

With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, many small business will transition into 2014 with the new metallic plans. Before making that change those business will not only need to be informed, but they will also have to educate their employees about the upcoming changes.

In contrast with the individual health insurance market, the small group health insurance market is offering wide networks with affordable prices on both the private and public exchanges. This advantage will help allow small business to find and retain the best benefits.

The public exchange “Shop” has the advantage that small business with 25 full-time-equivalent employees (who are paid an average of annual employee wage of less than $50,000) will be eligible for a tax credit in both 2014 and 2015. “Shop” offers a small business solution package of health plans from Blue Shield, Health Net and Kaiser, as well as other small health insurance carriers. However, in the last 6 months the enrollment process of Shop has not been smooth, and groups have had to wait up to 45 days to receive group acknowledgement after the initial effective date.

In contrast to this, the private exchange through California Choice has been offering an extremely attractive small business solution package. The benefit package may include a combination of health plans from Anthem, Aetna, Kaiser, Health Net and two other carriers, with various HMO, PPO, EPO and HSA-compatible plans. The employer determines the various health plans and metal tier combination he/she wants to offer. The employer then sets the monthly contribution towards the employee’s health insurance plan, either in a fixed set dollar amount or in a fixed percentage. The contribution is usually based on the lowest priced health plan offered. The employer is able to maintain financial control while still being able to offer a rich benefit package to their employee.

Following the employer’s selection of the health plans to be offered, the employees will review their personalized benefit worksheet. This will show the cost for each plan after their employer’s contribution is applied (see attachment). The employees then decide on the health plan and the insurance carriers they want, based on both their individual health needs and budget.

In addition, the employer can enrich the benefit package by offering employees voluntary dental and vision health plans, without costing the employer additional money.

Both “California Choice” and “Shop” eliminate the hassle of administering multiple plans by consolidating each health plan from every carrier in one monthly bill. The “California Choice” and “Shop” bill will list all employees, dependents, levels of coverage, the employer contributions and any employee deductions.

Health Net, as an insurance carrier alone, offers one of the most competitive PPO health insurance premiums for 2014. Its Gold and Silver tier plans are about 20 % lower than those offered by its competitors such as Aetna, Anthem , Blue Shield or United Health Care.

It is important to know that when you switch insurance carriers, you can enroll in any month and do not have to wait for a specific enrollment period.

Please feel free to contact Solid Health Insurance Service with any questions you may have. Let us help you to find affordable small business and individual insurance in Los Angeles, Santa Monica and the rest of California.