When shopping for a group health plan a big issue for you will be the size of your group, in your case I am assuming less than 25 employees. Given your smaller size there are choices but your buying power is less than that probably of your former employer. Here are some tips about shopping for a group plan:
1. Find an agency that specializes in servicing groups your size. A licensed insurance agency is paid on commission from the insurance policies it sells - those policies cost you no more than they would anywhere else and the agent should be adding value. For example they should be helping design and select a plan, and provide service and support to you and your employees once it is in place. They get paid to do this from the commissions so it costs you nothing more.
2. If you are going to shop on your own then you can look to some resources that can help like your local chamber of commerce or trade associations.
3. As you shop be sure to look carefully at your plan design options today. There are more than ever that can be used to manage your costs, without compromising quality of the coverage. In particular if your group is healthy and younger you can look at some of the medically underwritten plans. Employees complete a medical questionnaire and based on the answers the insurance company decides if they will cover the group and `rate` the premiums. This is opposed to `guarantee issue` policies that don`t require health questions, blue cross blue shield is good example of that type of policy in Michigan and elsewhere in the country and there are many others. Also you can look at high deductible health insurance plans today (HDHI) coupled with health savings accounts (HSA`s) or flexible spending accounts (FSA`s). This is another option to drive down costs.
4. Look carefully at the prescription coverage you are getting. Be sure to setup the plan to provide incentive to use generics. Also if the group is healthy look at self funding your prescription coverage.
Well these are just a few notes. If you would like more information you can visit our website at www.mainstreetptrs.com or feel free to contact me directly firstname.lastname@example.org. We do work with small groups out of state.
Thanks again and good luck,