As a business owner, you can’t underestimate the importance of a quality employee benefits package. While there are a great number of benefits to having stellar coverage, such as higher employee morale, higher employee retention, and an easier time attracting new talent, finding a plan that fits both your needs and your workforce’s can be a challenge. Especially with the competitive nature of the insurance market, having so many options to sift through can leave you second guessing yourself, but you shouldn’t have to! Being knowledgeable about the more important factors to consider when shopping for insurance and a provider, will make your life so much easier, and will instill you and your employees with confidence.
To tackle this daunting task, we’ve put together a business owners guide, delving into the details surrounding group insurance, so that you can make an effective decision when it comes to your company’s future coverage package.
What to Consider…
Finding an individual health plan can be stressful enough, but when searching for a trusted provider for all of your employees too, there’s even more pressure. The fact is, there are a lot of factors to consider, but luckily for you, we’re here to help you navigate through all of them.
Rightfully, number one on the list, probably the most important aspect of a group insurance plan are the benefits that it provides. When looking at various insurance providers, you must make sure to carefully review the benefits, and the fine print. Insurance providers can sometimes be misleading in their wording, so just because a plan says they offer a number of benefits, it will pay off to look at the details such as out-of-pocket costs, deductibles and so on. Some of the more common benefits of a group plan include coverages for health, vision, dental, life and disability coverage. Some insurance providers and packages will go above and beyond offering things like mental health coverage, wellness programs, acupuncture and much more.
In addition to looking for a provider that offers the best benefits, you should also take the time to consider the needs and preferences of your employees. Ask yourself what they value the most. For example, are the majority of your employees mainly concerned with just health coverage? Does any of your workforce have unique needs or circumstances? How important is vision and dental coverage to your employees? Getting yourself into this pattern of thinking will enable you to find a provider that offers benefits that fit everyone’s general needs.
2.Consider the Costs
No matter how big or small a company is, something that every business owner must consider is the costs associated with an insurance plan.. The key is to find a happy medium between affordability and satisfactory benefits. With insurance coverage, things become more complex because there isn’t just one pricepoint to pay attention to. What’s going to be most important to analyze are the premium rates, co-pays, deductibles, and out-of-pocket maximums for each provider.
A common practice for insurance companies is to offer tiered packages which have different levels of insurance with different prices associated. This allows your employees to choose between the plans at hand based on their preferences and budget. While prices can vary quite a bit, you must remember that the cheapest option isn’t always the best. You can probably pay a little bit more, for much better employee coverage. Ultimately, the choice is yours depending on how much you’re willing to pay, but keep your employee’s wellness in mind.
3.Reputation and Customer Support
At the end of the day the insurance business is all about providing exceptional customer service and support, and you should expect nothing less. Working with a provider that is easy to communicate with can make all the difference in the world for you and your employees. With all this said, you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of excellent customer service. You’re going to have to work with the provider and their employees to assist with claims, resolve issues, and to clarify policy details, so it’s worth it to do research into who they are.
Look into the reputation of various insurance providers. Resources such as customer reviews and testimonials will help you have a better idea of what it’s like to work with the company at hand. You can also look at online resources such as the Better Business Bureau for valuable insight. Another test that can tell you a lot about a provider is how helpful and responsive they are during your first interaction. Did they take a long time to call you back? Did they do a diligent job in explaining coverage details, or offer you any additional literature? The best of the best providers will do everything in their power to make you happy, so keep your expectations high during this process.
4.Look at the Network’s Size and Reach
Another greatly influential factor in this process is the healthcare providers network, or in other words, the doctors, specialists, hospitals and clinics that are covered in your plan. The size of a network will impact where employees can go and who they can see during times of need, so it will pay off to research the size and reach of a network before choosing a plan. What’s most crucial to keep in mind is the number of in-network specialists and facilities, as well as the convenience in location. This can be extra important if you have employees living in rural areas, as they may have to travel a far distance to get medical help. With that said, look at the locations offered in the network by a provider to ensure that no one employee has to struggle to get the proper care they deserve.
Many businesses are made up of diverse individuals with diverse needs and wants. In order to find a plan that offers satisfactory benefits to everyone, you’ll want to search for a provider that allows customizable options. When speaking with an insurance rep, ask them about their ability to tailor your group insurance plan based on the characteristics of your employees. While some employees may value an employee wellness program, others may value mental health counseling, so to please everyone, a highly customized plan will work the best.
6.Efficiency and Accessibility
Something else to keep in mind is the efficiency and ease of communication when having to file a claim, or track down a policy document. With that said, during an already frustrating time, the last thing you want to deal with is a delay due to the lack of professionalism of your provider. Before choosing who to work with, ask a variety of providers about their communication policy and claims process. What you want to look for is both a company with employees who are quick to respond, and a company who has online tools such as customer portals, or online claims tracking systems. Remember, you are the one paying for coverage, so when it’s time to use the coverage, you shouldn’t have to worry about being held-up for an extended period.
It’s Decision Time!
Now that you’re equipped with all of the most important factors to consider when looking at insurance providers, it’s time to make your decision. Keeping the above knowledge in mind, the following steps will help streamline the process so that you can easily make an effective choice:
1.Look at Your Needs
You must first understand the needs and wants of your employees. What benefits are the most valuable to the majority of your workforce? Does anyone have special circumstances?
2.Research Various Providers
Put together a list of some of the top insurance providers in your area. Pay close attention to the plans and benefits that they offer, how big or small their network is and what former and current customers have to say about them.
Reach out to some of the researched providers and ask for a quote, so you can get an idea of the costs associated with the plan of your choosing. GHQ is a valuable resource for this step as it can provide you with side-by-side comparisons, during the free quoting process.
4.Talk to Provider Representatives
With an idea of pricing, network size and benefits, now you can reach out to your list of providers and talk to a representative. This is the time to ask about any questions you may have such as plan customization, claims processing and more.
5.Talk with Your Employees
Make sure to reach out to your employees through meetings, surveys or questionnaires to understand their needs and preferences. This will enable you to make the most informed choice.
6.Review Contract Details
Make sure to carefully comb through the contract, looking at details such as renewal conditions, coverage details or any exclusions.
7.Speak with an Expert & Choose Wisely
Lastly, it will pay to speak with a trusted and licensed insurance expert, such as a broker or agent. Bring the research that you’ve already completed with you and ask for their insight. They will help to make you aware of important information that you may have not considered previously and can help you negotiate a price and policy terms that make you feel confident with your selection.
Trying to choose the right insurance provider and plan for you and your employees can be overwhelming to say the least. It can feel stressful when trying to account for your own budget, your employee’s needs and preferences, network sizes and more! During this process it will help you to take a deep breath and go one step at a time. Consider costs, benefits included, network details, customer service, customization, and ease of communication. Remember that the decision you make will impact your workforce and your company’s future, so take your time doing research and talking with a trusted advisor. At the end of the day, by keeping all of this in mind, you’ll be able to secure a great insurance plan with a trusted provider, making the quality of life for everyone in your organization better for years to come!
If you are a business owner who needs help finding the right coverage plan for your business, you’ve come to the right place! GHQ makes the shopping process easy, providing you with the top group insurance providers in your area, offering free quotes, and giving you a side-by-side comparison. Our licensed insurance agents work around the clock to assess your specific needs and match you with the best local plan. All you have to do is fill out a form or give us a call at 888-571-0291 to get started!