Being a Health Insurance broker, I’ve had many conversations with employers and businesses about how they have been combating the rising tide of health insurance costs. As customary, even more-so recently, I’ve noticed a common theme within each answer; “I pick a plan with a low premium because I’ve got to keep health insurance to keep my employees”. While this strategy can be beneficial towards an employer’s bottom line—you could end up injuring your reputation as a great place to work, thus adversely affecting your business. What most companies have been doing is choosing a health plan with a limited network—which severely restricts your employee’s health insurance plan to a small network of physicians.
While in some cases, this strategy can be very beneficial –e.g. controlling costs while still offering a health insurance plan to your employees—but, if the research into the network hasn’t been done, then the employees are going to be paying into a health plan that doesn’t allow them to see their primary doctor, or even get routine prescriptions without paying a premium for them. When boiled down, the crux of the issue is employers have been choosing health insurance based on their monthly premium alone, and don’t realize their mistake until it is too late to choose another plan. (As you can imagine, employees’ benefits satisfaction will drop significantly, and employee turnover will come into play)
Part of the solution is to make sure that you understand the health insurance plan that you are signing up for. Hopefully, you have an insurance broker to do this for you, but if not, there are things you should look out for: out-of-network plans, co-insurance, out of pocket maximum, and deductible levels. Also, if an employer is offering a plan with a limited network—make sure you’re familiar with the health insurance coverage, and know where you can receive care. All of the preceding topics can be, at times complicated, and undoubtedly time-consuming so it’s best to seek the help of a trusted professional to guide you and help you through the process.