4 Ways to Choose the Right Health Insurance for Your Small Business
There are many beneficial reasons to purchase health insurance for your small business. However, health insurance products and services are certainly not “one-size fits all.” Choosing the right insurer and the right plan are essential for making the most of your small business’s investment.
Here are the four main factors our small business clients usually consider before they purchase insurance.
1. Price stability
At Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC), it is our mission to help employers leverage their health care dollars further. We are much more than a “claims processor.” It’s our duty to manage your overall health care costs through our strong networks. Additionally, we are also able to help you manage costs through programs such as care management, disease management and reporting.
At Blue Cross NC, we are dedicated to driving down health care costs for our members. For example, we are leading health care transformation across the state with our Blue Premier program, which is the most rapid and comprehensive shift to value-based payment in the nation by any health plan. This program has three goals: better health outcomes, exceptional patient experience and lower costs.
Offering group health insurance to your employees is a long-term business strategy. With the lowest filed medical trend in the marketplace, Blue Cross NC is a partner you can have confidence in for the long term. For our small employers, it is important to partner with a carrier that can offer predictability and price stability year-over-year.
2. Your unique employee demographics
Understanding your employee demographics and your employees’ specific needs will have a direct impact on the type of coverage you choose.
There’s no doubt that your employees will be at the heart of your decision when it comes to choosing the right plan for your small business. When considering group medical coverage, you may first want to take a step back and take a good look at your employee base. For example, with a younger population, your top priority might be lowering barriers to care (including things like adjusting the copay cost and lowering the deductible amount) as millennials tend to shy away from primary care physicians. With an older employee population, for example, you may want to consider plans that provide more flexibility around payment options. Plans that would include Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) or Health Savings Accounts (HSA). Of course, some benefits are beneficial for all employee demographics, such as telehealth. Telehealth options allow employees to remotely access nurses and doctors via phone or video chat.
Ask yourself, what will my employees value the most from their medical coverage? That’s often a good place to start when trying to choose a health plan that fits your company’s needs. There’s no cookie cutter approach to choosing group medical coverage.
3. Plan offerings
As a small business, you have options!
When it comes to group health insurance, you may be asking: Can one carrier meet all of your needs?
We’re proud to be able to offer everything you’ll need to create a comprehensive plan. This includes a wide variety of plan designs, funding strategies, and value driven networks.
If you’re looking to prioritize employee choice, you may be interested in our dual-option and triple-option plans. If you’re instead seeking consumer-driven health plans, our unique relationship with HealthEquity® allows us to offer our members consumer-driven solutions that are fully integrated with their health plan., These health plans deliver tax-favorable Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRAs), and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs). Small businesses searching for different funding options may want to consider both fully insured and balance-funded arrangements. In fact, our balance funded plans offer one of the most generous surplus refunds in the industry. Worried about costs? For employers wanting to drive down cost we offer value driven network options designed around those facilities that provide the lowest cost and highest quality.
4. Simplicity vs. complexity
There’s no arguing that health insurance is complicated. That’s why we partner with over 2,000 independent agencies across North Carolina to simplify the complex. Our certified agents can help you navigate all of the options available as well as assist in the communication, administration and compliance of your chosen health plan.
Similarly, we are actively working to provide more tools and resources to our members. We’ve opened three retail centers in North Carolina (Raleigh, Charlotte and Boone) so that anyone can walk into a center and speak to someone face-to-face. Have questions about which plan is right for you? Want to know what benefits are covered by your current plan? Stop in to see us, today.
In addition, we’re proud to offer tools and resources such as and our health care cost estimator tool, Blue 365 Deals (exclusive discounts on the latest fitness gear and health programs), Health Line Blue (24/7 nurse line to ask questions or get assistance), nutritional counseling, and wellness activities.
 The customizable aspects of our plan depend on the number of full-time employees your business employs.
 Dual-option plans are only available for groups with more than 10 applying employees, and triple-option plans are only available for groups with more than 50 eligible employees.
 Blue Cross NC is the plan administrator and contracts with HealthEquity, Inc., an independent entity, to perform certain HRA, HSA and FSA administrative services. HSAs and HRAs can be paired with any high-deductible health plan with an eligible deductible. These benefits are commonly provided by employers to help reduce employees’ high out-of-pocket limits.
 Consumer-driven health plans are only available to groups with more than 50 eligible full-time employees.
 Balanced-funding arrangements are only available to small businesses with more than 20 full-time employees. Special conditions apply. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
 These tools and resources for services are provided for your convenience and Blue Cross NC is not liable in any way for services received. Decisions regarding your care should be made with the advice of a doctor. Blue Cross NC reserves the right to discontinue or change the programs at any time.
About Justin Brinkley
Justin Brinkley is an Account Executive in the Local Segment for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina. He works with agents and employers to provide competitive benefit packages for their employees. His unique perspective is a result of his experience as a benefits consultant combined with ten years of working across multiple segments at Blue Cross NC.