New and changing healthcare regulations are leaving businesses confused about how to offer employees with affordable, quality healthcare benefits. As a result, more small businesses than ever before are exploring alternative coverage options as a way to cut costs and simplify their employee benefits plans. Redefining benefits also means redefining what a “benefit” actually is. Under the old model, employers provided employees insurance so they wouldn’t have to pay the high price of medical services directly — but the trade-off was that employees had less money in their pockets for other things. With the new model, an employee may decide whether it makes sense to spend a little money now on an insurance plan (or some other form of non-cash benefit) or keep more cash in their pocket. The new model offers flexibility, which can lead to savings for employees who choose wisely. Here are five reasons why group health share plans can make a lot of sense for your business:
Employees have control over their own money.
Traditional plans put employers in charge of managing their employees’ small group health insurance plans cost and benefits—which can be a recipe for headaches. For example, if you offer coverage through an HMO network, there may not be any doctors in your area who can treat your employees. If your employees travel long distances to see specialists, they may lose more time from work than the trip is worth — or they may decide that the trip is simply impossible. With cash-only providers, on the other hand, employees can choose the doctors that work best for them without having to worry about whether they are in an HMO network.
Employees decide on a benefit that makes sense for them.
Employees who choose a cash-only provider can benefit from a lower price. Depending on the coverage level and deductible, the employee may save between $100 and $1,000 a month. By comparison, the average employer-provided HMO plan costs $450 per month. The employee has saved $450 each month by choosing cash-only coverage. They will likely save money if they need to see a specialist. Again, depending on the level of coverage, their costs could be lower by hundreds or even thousands of dollars per visit. By choosing a cash-only provider, the employees can decide whether the savings are worth the tradeoff of putting their money towards the coverage instead of having it in their pockets.
Employees can save money in the short term by using a doctor with a cash-only discount.
If you offer a group health share plan and your employees are willing to use cash-only providers, they can also save money in the long term by getting a discount on every visit. If, for example, your employees choose to see a cash-only primary care doctor, they may be able to get a discount of 10 to 20 percent off the usual price. By choosing a cash-only provider, employees can save money on every visit. This money can help them pay for the extra costs of using cash-only providers, like gas or the cost of parking. Still, even a small discount on every visit can help employees save money in the short term. This can help them avoid choosing coverage and having extra cash in their pockets.
Employees who need to see specialists get access to quality care, no matter what.
Specialists are more likely to charge more, and some specialists may refuse to take insurance at all. When this happens, the employer will have to pay for those services themselves. To avoid these expensive situations, some employers drop coverage for certain types of care — like MRIs or ultrasounds — frequently considered “not medically necessary.” Other businesses limit the annual MRIs or ultrasounds each employee can get. By choosing cash-only providers, employees can avoid these restrictions. Because no middleman is involved, specialists will be more likely to provide services to your employees, even if they don’t usually accept insurance. By choosing cash-only providers, employees can access the quality care they need. This can help them avoid unnecessary complications and expenses down the road.
The plan requires employees to be engaged in their own healthcare decisions.
Traditional health insurance plans often come with an annual limit on the amount an employee can get covered by the insurance. After hitting that limit, they must pay the remainder of the bill themselves. This can be a big burden on employees who have expensive medical bills. By contrast, cash-only providers typically have no annual limits. If your employees choose providers who charge according to a “lateral” billing system, they will only have to pay the amount they would have otherwise paid for the service — not the amount charged by the provider. Employees can avoid the huge burden of high medical bills by choosing cash-only providers. This can help them save money over time and avoid becoming financially stressed.
Bottom line: Should you consider a group health share plan?
A group health share plan can be a great way to offer employee benefits that are both affordable and flexible. By letting employees choose their coverage and providers, you can ensure that everyone is getting the coverage that works best for them. You can also save yourself a lot of headaches and hassles by letting employees handle their own claims. This will help you reduce your time handling paperwork and dealing with claims.