Friday, December 03, 2010

How to Get Group Health Insurance for Your Small Businesses

The best thing to do is enlist the services of an independent health insurance broker

Source: StockMonkeys.com
If you own a small business and want to offer health insurance benefits to your employees, you should prepare yourself for a potentially aggravating and cumbersome experience. You may find yourself digging through your basement searching for old company documents or buried beneath a mountain of confusing information about various plan options.

Implementing a group health insurance plan for your small business requires submitting an abundance of proof that your company and its employees are legitimate. For smaller family-owned businesses with no other employees, obtaining medical insurance is even more challenging, usually due to a lack of formal employment and payroll records.

Step 1

Obtain some group health insurance quotes. Begin by contacting your state’s insurance department for a list of approved insurance carriers. Call each carrier, explain your situation, and request quotes for group health insurance plans.

Insurance companies only need basic information about your company and employees to generate proposals. You must provide the carrier with a basic census of your workforce, which is simply a spreadsheet detailing the number of workers, their ages, their home zip codes and whether they work full-time or part-time.

Step 2

Compare the health insurance quotes. Within a few days, each of the health insurance companies should have finished generating quotes for the small business plans available in your area. Review the details of the plans, paying special attention to the benefits summary pages.

Benefits summaries are simple charts that describe the provisions on the plan in one column and the cost of each benefit in another. Examining the benefits summaries from each of the carrier’s proposals side-by-side makes it much easier to compare plans.

Step 3

After carefully reviewing and examining the features of the proposals, weighing the costs versus the benefits, and considering the capabilities of your workforce, pick a plan that provides acceptable coverage for a price you and your workers can afford. Additionally, consider the size and scope of the carrier’s network to ensure an adequate number of providers exist within your geographic area.

Step 4

Request a new business application kit. Inform the chosen carrier of your decision to enroll in one of their quoted plans. You will receive a package containing necessary paperwork that must be completed to initiate the enrollment process.

Complete the relevant sections of the employer paperwork, and instruct your employees to complete the proper sections of their own forms. The employer’s application asks for basic information about the company and the entire group. Be prepared to answer questions involving the number of employees, how many work full-time and part-time, and other relevant details about your workforce.

The employees’ applications ask questions pertaining to medical treatment history, prescription drugs, physician information and other personal data.

Step 5

Gather the necessary supporting documentation. Included with the business application kit is a checklist of required items that must accompany new applications. To ensure timely processing, it’s essential that you provide all of the items on the list.

Carriers request evidence demonstrating that your company is a legitimate entity and the employees you intend to insure actually work for you. Every carrier devises their own list of supporting items, but the most commonly required documents include articles of incorporation, tax returns, and payroll reports.

If your small business has no formal employees, proving that you and your family members actually work for the company may become a challenge.

Step 6

Submit the required documentation. After completing the carrier’s application for a new group health insurance plan, mail or deliver the paperwork as soon as possible.

Include in the package the items on the checklist, as well as a company check for the amount of the first month’s premium as illustrated on the quote pages.

Tips


Each health insurance carrier follows slightly different guidelines for approving or rejecting new group health applications. These differences also include the amount of paperwork and number of validation documents required to demonstrate your group’s legitimate status. You may have to provide more or less information and documentation than described here.

Consider enlisting the assistance of a health insurance broker. Brokers maintain relationships with multiple insurance carriers and have access to resources that consumers do not. They act as your company's liaison to the insurance carriers and their role is to assist your business in obtaining the most appropriate and affordable group health insurance plan.

Warnings


If any of your employees have been uninsured for more than one month prior to the effective date of the new medical plan, pre-existing condition limitations may be imposed by the carrier. Any conditions or health issues that already exist, or for which treatment was received in the past six to 12 months, may be excluded from coverage for the following six to twelve months.

References


BestHealthInsuranceBook.com: 12 Step Process for Buying Health Insurance
NetQuote.com: All Group Health Plans are not Created Equal

Resources (Further Reading)


GoHealthInsurance.com: Group Health Insurance
InsureLane.com: Group Health Insurance – How to Find it Without Busting Your Budget




This article is a Twisted Nonsense Exclusive! (12/03/2010)