Questions to Ask Before Selecting Group Health Coverage
Selecting health insurance can be complex and complicated.
Here are three key questions to ask that can help benefit managers make the right choice for their business and their employees:
What plan provides the best value for your health care dollar?
Health coverage is among the fastest-growing costs for businesses across the nation, so employers should look beyond premiums and more into the value-added benefits and cost share levels of the plan options. Compare benefits “line by line” to ensure their employees get the type of coverage they need and deserve.
“The premium of a plan is certainly a consideration, but quality and value should be considered as well,” said Richard Argentieri, Senior Vice President of Sales, Independent Health. “Lower premium plans tend to have higher out-of-pocket costs, whereas higher premium plans often offer enhanced services and greater value.”
A report by Integrated Benefits Institute
found that lost productivity from illness costs employers $530 billion annually. Because there's a strong link between better health and better job performance, it’s a good idea for employers to check to see what types of resources, tools and programs the plan offers that can help keep employees as healthy and productive as possible.
What is the size and depth of a plan’s provider network?
The larger the network of providers and specialists, the easier it is for members to access appropriate care. Certain plans work more closely with providers to improve quality, contain costs, eliminate wasteful spending, and enhance efficiencies.
“Choosing a plan that has a strong, collaborative relationship with providers can result in better coordinated care for your employees and lower overall costs,” said Argentieri.
What is the plan’s customer service reputation?
Employers and their employees will have questions and need help with their coverage. Pick a plan that understands the local market and has a reputation for excellence in member service and satisfaction so when you have questions, getting answers is easy.
“The fewer customer service issues your employees have, the fewer issues you’ll have to deal from a human resources perspective,” said Argentieri. “Check the annual third-party rankings and customer satisfaction survey results, such as the
NCQA Health Insurance Plan Ratings
and J.D. Power’s Commercial Member Health Plan Study, to learn how well the plan takes care of its members when they need services.”
Choosing the right health plan is an important decision for employees and businesses alike. By asking a few simple questions and doing a little homework, health benefit managers will be well-positioned to make the right choice for everyone.