Terry’s Columns Small Biz Health Insurance Deal Won’t Last Long

Small Biz Health Insurance Deal Won’t Last Long

By Terry Savage on October 17, 2018

Do you own – or work for — a small business that doesn’t provide health insurance? Fewer than half of all small businesses – with from two to fifty employees – offer a health plan. But in the next few weeks there’s a unique opportunity to get the best group insurance available – at no cost to the business owner.

A little known provision of the Affordable Care Act mandates a Special Enrollment Period during which all small businesses must be offered a plan that is comparable to those offered to major companies doing business in that state. Obviously, the insurers aren’t running out to publicize this offering since they make more profits from large groups.

But the plans that major insurers such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield, United Healthcare, and Humana make available to big companies are also available to small businesses during the SEP period, which runs from November 15 thru December 15 for a January 1 effective date. During this period, employers that would otherwise not meet contribution or participation requirements for group plans, can enroll in the best group health plans available in their state.

These group health plans may offer multiple choices such as HMO, PPO, and Health Savings Accounts. They offer the widest access to hospitals and physicians – unlike many ACA plans which have recently limited access to physicians and teaching hospitals. If these plans are good enough for the state’s largest corporate employers, you can be sure they will offer you the best coverage.

And because these plans are mandated offerings by the ACA, there is no disqualification or higher premium for employees with pre-existing conditions!

Even more attractive to a small business running on a tight budget: The company is not required to make a contribution to cover the cost of participating employees. And even if only one employee chooses to participate, out of the two or more salaried employees, the plan can go into effect. Thus, if the owner is covered by Medicare, for example, but one or more additional employees find this plan more attractive than the ACA offerings, the plan will cover them.

Only one salaried full employee needs to participate to take advantage of this offering — even if other employees choose an ACA plan that provides more limited coverage but lower premiums because of a subsidy.

Another incentive: If the plan is structured correctly, employees can pay premiums through a payroll deduction on a pre-tax basis, thus lowering the true cost even more.

This is such an incredibly good deal – and potentially so costly to insurers – that few insurance companies are advertising it, and with low commissions few brokers have an incentive to sell them.
Allen Wishner of TheHealthInsuranceShoppe.com is one of the few who is on a mission to let employers know they need to start the application process as soon as November 1st. Says Wishner: “Statistics show that fewer than half of all small businesses offer group insurance to their employees. Taking advantage this special enrollment period can make a huge difference in the lives of many of the 27 million working age adults and their families.”

If you go to www.TheHealthInsuranceShoppe.com, employers can fill out the “census” form to start the process of getting quotes on group plans available in their area. There is very little paperwork. But you must get started now.

Or go to www.ehealthinsurance.com to get quotes for policies in every state. In the health insurance section of this website, just look for the tab marked “small business group health.” Anthony Lopez, who heads up the small business division of eHealth says they are gearing up for a large volume of business in the coming weeks, as more small businesses are aware of this unusual – and limited time — opportunity.

If you are an employee of a small business that doesn’t offer health insurance, clip this column or share it in an email to your company owner. Remind her that she doesn’t need to take the insurance – but the employees will really appreciate the great coverage and will reward the company with their job loyalty. And that’s The Savage Truth.



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