Group health insurance is a blanket term used to describe the many types of health insurance offered through employers, student organizations, religious groups, and trade and professional associations, to name a few examples. While affordable group health insurance comes in many forms, everything from pre-determined health insurance plans to fee for service, PPO, and HMO style coverages, group insurance plans come with a number of advantages that make them the most popular health insurance options in the U.S. Here's the skinny on group plans, for administrators and clients alike, to catch you up to speed.
How Does Group Health Insurance Work?
For starters, let's talk about why affordable group health insurance has been, and continues to be, the preferred mode of health insurance for between 175,000,000 and 200,000,000 Americans, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. At the heart of any group plan is the simple fact that insurance companies stand to make more money as they insure more people. Since businesses, religious organizations, and professional groups provide insurers with pre-assembled groups of willing customers, insurance providers are willing to negotiate lower group rates in exchange for the opportunity to gain customers en-masse. In the end, everybody wins.
Group Based Health Insurance for the Average Joe
Whether you're an employee who has access to a group insurance plan offered by your employer, or are a member of an organization, club, or association that offers group coverage, it usually pays to take advantage of group insurance opportunities. Why? Here are a few of the many reasons to get excited about group health plans:
- Price --Whether you subscribe to a fee-for-service plan, an HMO, a PPO, or a POS, group rates are almost universally less expensive than comparable individual health insurance plans.
- Less Restrictions --Because they are issued to and through groups, group plans rarely have the same level of restrictions as individual plans. Many of the sticking points that can make individual health insurance so frustrating, like pre-existing conditions, the addition of new family members, and restrictions based on poor health histories, are non-factors in a group health setting.
- Group Insurance as a Benefit --Particularly if your health insurance is provided by an employer, it's not unusual for employers to pay a portion of, or all of, your health insurance premiums as part of a larger benefits package.
Affordable Group Health Insurance from an Administrative Perspective
There are just as many, if not more, advantages to group insurance plans if you're an employer or the administrator of a qualifying organization. Here are few reasons to consider group health insurance if you're approaching it from the top down rather than the bottom up:
- Doing the Right Thing --In a climate where health insurance is increasingly expensive and tough to qualify for as an individual, offering affordable group health insurance can be the difference between having health insurance and going uninsured for many of your employees, members, or associates.
- Healthy Employees are Happy Employees --Providing health insurance has multiple benefits from the perspective of improving productivity and boosting morale. For starters, healthy and fully insured employees are generally more positive about their place of work and more loyal to their employers. And since they are healthier in general, that means less man-hours lost to absenteeism and/or employee inefficiency due to illness.
- Using Group Insurance Plans as a Recruiting Tool --Last, but certainly not least, a quality health insurance plan can be a real draw for potential employees & group members, as well as having a positive impact in terms of retaining the employees and members that you already have.
What if Your Group Based Health Insurance Plan Falls Short?
As good as most group health plans are, they aren't always perfect. Group plans that lean toward a managed care approach can be restrictive for employees with certain health conditions, or those that commute (or telecommute) to work from outside the area where the plan's approved physicians operate. In those instances it may be necessary to acquire a secondary individual health insurance plan on top of your group benefits in order to obtain the health coverage you need and deserve. Whether you're exploring group insurance options as an employer or organization, or are an individual looking for an additional individual plan to add to your group based health coverage, online insurance quote services like NetQuote.com are the easiest way to find the best providers, the best rates, the best coverages, and the best service, at no charge to you.