What will change, barring another unforeseen delay, is significant price increases for small businesses with less than 50 employees. These increases will occur very soon, and they will affect a large majority of employers who have been “grandfathering” their current coverage for the past 4 years. If you have less than 50 employees, provide group health insurance to your people, and have been putting off making changes for fear of being rated differently under Obamacare, you will be looking for alternatives. I have been warning of this change for 4 years, but things are really going to change this time.
As a result of this coming market disruption, you may be approached to look at a “new” association health insurance option in the marketplace. Claims of 20% savings or more will catch your attention and you may be tempted to look into that option. My advice to you is to proceed cautiously. There will be new companies and agents enter into this market that lack the experience and expertise to keep your firm in compliance with the complicated ERISA regulations that are in place. The compliance part of the equation will fall directly back on the employer, and that is not a walk in the park. If you think OSHA or the Division of Water is problematic, wait until you deal with the Department of Labor on an ERISA audit.
What is the answer then? Association insurance programs. These plans have been in existence since the 1970’s, and have continually served the members of associations statewide. We work with a quality third party administrator who takes the compliance component out of your hands so you don’t have to worry about regulatory issues. We utilize the largest hospital and physician network in the state which all but guarantees your employees will not have to change doctors. With Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield as our carrier, our members have access to coverage globally with the Blue Card. These are tangible reasons to use your associations insurance program to benefit your company. The intangible benefit is experience and knowledge of association health insurance plans. Logan Lavelle Hunt has been the premier Association Insurance program agency in Kentucky and Indiana since 1985 (via Winston & Company Benefits). Don’t take a chance on costly audits and potential compliance issues with other providers, the rules have changed so much that small businesses just can’t afford to get this wrong. At this critical juncture, call the professionals that have been through thick and then with your company.