What Kinds of Health Insurance Can I Get if I Work for an Employer with Less than 50 Employees?
Many employers with less than 50 employees offer employee benefit packages. Considered small group health insurance, employers may offer medical and dental insurance plans and other health benefits, such as wellness and disease management programs. If your employer does not offer group health insurance, you can find coverage on your own or through organizations, such as trusts or association where you are a member.
Small Group Medical
Small group medical coverage is available to employers with between two and 50 employees. An advantage of small group health insurance is that if your employer offers it, you cannot be turned down individually. Typically, premiums for group insurance are lower than individual health insurance policy premiums because they are pooled together. Your employer will decide the contribution rates to determine the cost sharing of the premium between employee and employer. Small group plans offer comprehensive plans including coverage for accidents, illnesses and emergency care.
Small Group Dental
Dental insurance is also available to small businesses. Like medical insurance, dental coverage is offered as a small group plan. Dental insurance may be offered as a stand-alone product or integrated with the medical plan offerings. Employers have the option of picking and choosing the specific dental plan options to offer their employees. For instance, the employer may choose to include orthodontic coverage in their dental insurance plans. Also like medical, the employer decides the cost sharing levels of the premium between the employee and employer.
Other Healthcare Benefits
Many small businesses fund their own medical claims and want to minimize the costs. Offering programs, such as wellness, disease management and biometric screenings, encourages employees to get or remain healthy, reducing claims costs. These programs typically offer two components: online services and tools and telephonic health coaching with a wellness or clinical coach. Wellness programs can include smoking cessation, weight loss, nutrition, sleep and others. Disease-management programs include asthma, heart disease, back pain, diabetes and other chronic conditions. The goal is for employees to understand and improve their lifestyle and health conditions, thereby reducing insurance costs.
Other Insurance Options
Although many small businesses with less than 50 employees offer health insurance, some do not. The burden of cost may be too great or too much of a risk for a small organization. If your employer does not offer group health insurance, consider purchasing an individual health insurance policy. Also known as private policies, you can find comprehensive insurance plans through most national and regional health insurance carriers. Additionally, if you belong to a labor union, professional association or alumni group, you may be able to find group health insurance through these organizations.