Wednesday, March 10, 2010

How to Get a Health Insurance Quote for a Small Business

Source: ccPixs
The health insurance industry can be complicated and overwhelming if you're not actively involved in it every day. Obtaining and evaluating health insurance quotes for your small business can be a daunting task, especially if you've never done it. Insurance companies need only limited information to generate initial quotes, and everything can be done online or over the phone.

Prepare your census


Health insurance carriers need a census, or list of employees, to generate quotes. The list does not need to contain any personally identifiable information, but should detail each employee's age, sex, home zip code and coverage request (single, husband and wife, parent and child or family). Create your employee census in a spreadsheet to make uploading or emailing the file easier.


Familiarize yourself with common plans


You don't need to become a health insurance expert, but you should be familiar with the basic differences between the most common types of group health insurance plans. HMOs and PPOs are the two most popular types of group health insurance in the U.S. and are relatively easy to understand.


Contact health insurance carriers


Call or email the customer service departments at every major group health insurance provider in your state. Request quotes for several plan designs and attach or upload your census file. Have the quotes faxed or emailed to your office so you have the opportunity to examine them at your convenience prior to discussing your situation with a representative.


Evaluate the quotes


When you have received responses and quotes from the health insurance carriers in your area, examine them thoroughly and make a note of any significant differences in price or availability of coverage. Once you feel comfortable with the plans and their designs, contact the customer service departments of the insurance carriers to discuss your options in more detail.

Tip


Consider enlisting the services of an independent health insurance broker or agency. These professionals are positioned to act as your liaison to the insurance carriers and can help you evaluate and compare different plans. Independent brokers can work with every carrier in the state, so there are no limitations on their ability to assist you with understanding plan designs or installing an appropriate policy for your employees.

Article originally published on Chron Small Business (03/10/2010)