HealthPass Offers Small Employers Tips for Providing Health Insurance
Non-Profit Agency Applauds "Cover the Uninsured Week"
NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - April 29, 2008) - With 47 million Americans living each day
without health insurance, "Cover the Uninsured Week" is the perfect time
for small business owners to evaluate the feasibility of offering health
insurance to their workers and themselves, according to HealthPass, a New
York City-based non profit group dedicated to improving access to health
coverage for small employers.
Now in its sixth year, "Cover the Uninsured," a project of the Robert Wood
Johnson Foundation, is a national effort to highlight the fact that
millions and millions of Americans are living without health insurance and
to demand solutions from the nation's leaders.
"It's no secret that tens of thousands of small businesses have not been
able to provide health coverage, either because the cost has been
prohibitive or access has been limited," said Vince Ashton, executive
director of HealthPass. "However, in the past couple of years, the small
employer insurance marketplace has changed dramatically. As a result,
small businesses and sole proprietors can find a wide arrangement of high
quality, affordable health plans."
Ashton strongly embraces "Cover the Uninsured Week," which takes place
April 27 - May 3, and offers the following tips to small businesses
thinking about providing health insurance:
1. Find a good broker
Working with a broker or consultant who can cut through the maze of
health insurance options, networks, rules, and guidelines and who is up to
date on the latest offerings is essential. In New York, broker fees are
included in the premium when purchasing small group healthcare and,
therefore, does not change the rate paid for a plan. Make sure to ask if a
broker's fees are included in the premium and non-negotiable, or if they
have built their fees on top of the rate.
2. Share the costs
When it comes to paying, requiring employees to pick up part of the
insurance cost is a fact of life. When offering only one plan, even a
nominal contribution amount required from employees will help control costs
and set the tone for the future. This may also deter those employees who
have spousal coverage and are only looking to "double" insure themselves
from doing so because it now costs them something to enroll.
3. Provide Options
Offering various health plan options can help ensure employees and their
families get the right level of care and benefits based on personal needs.
Employee-choice models, which give employees various insurers and plan
designs from which to choose, are becoming more popular. These plans
allow employees to choose their plans based on their own provider and risk
preferences. Some forward-thinking small employers are also beginning to
offer Health Savings Accounts to workers as an option.
4. Offer "Extras"
Plans that offer "extras" can go a long way toward helping employees
get the most out of their healthcare. These extras may be in the form of
wellness plans, personalized account or member services, insurance
advocates, and other value-added programs. Often for free or at a
discounted rate, these extras can help employees save money and live
healthier lifestyles. Employers should look for these and encourage their
employees to understand and take part in the programs as these additional
benefits can directly help increase productivity and reduce absenteeism.
Along with small business owners, Ashton is also encouraging sole
proprietors who are not insured to use this opportunity and evaluate health
insurance options for themselves.
"Unfortunately, too many small employers and sole proprietors just look at
the price of health insurance and automatically rule it out. With the
number and types of health insurance options available to these groups
growing, affordable, high quality health insurance is well within the reach
of many, many more organizations and individuals," said Ashton. "And
employers will find that offering health insurance will make it far easier
to attract and retain good workers."
HealthPass is an innovative partnership between the New York Business Group
on Health, the City of New York and the health insurance industry, bringing
small businesses, and now sole proprietors, healthcare choices worthy of
Fortune 500 companies.
HealthPass allows eligible employees of small businesses to individually
choose a healthcare plan that fits their medical needs and budgets from an
ever-growing range of choices. There are more than 30 different coverage
options from four leading carriers -- GHI, Health Net, HIP Health Plan of
New York and PerfectHealth -- as well as two dental plans and a bundled
security product offered through Guardian. In addition, HealthPass offers
five plans for sole proprietors. With over 200,000 providers, HealthPass
affords greater network access than any single plan. For more information,
please visit www.healthpass.com