Make your employees a priority

Health insurance options change each year, so it’s important to continuously explore what is best for your company and employees on a yearly basis. While it seems best to stick with what you know and offer the same group health insurance you had last year, you may need to explore other avenues like ICHRA. In this article, we explore what you should know about comparing group health insurance plans and ICHRA in terms of coverage options, affordability, and what’s best for your employees.

Analyze your current group health plan

When choosing a health insurance model for your company, set aside some time to analyze the coverage options. Even if you stick with last year’s group plan, there could be changes to coverage and requirements. You’ll want to make sure you’re selecting the best-fit plan for your teams based on what they need and what they can afford. There is no point in paying high premiums for a group plan that no one in your company can effectively utilize or afford.

In-Network Provider Limitations

Not everyone among your employees will have the same doctors, the same household budgets, nor the same healthcare needs. Choosing a group health insurance plan means you’re essentially limiting them regarding in-network providers and coverage. However, with an ICHRA model, participating employees have the control to choose their own plans based on their preferred providers and unique situations.

Evaluate Company and Employee Level Costs

Consider the costs involved with rolling over into last year’s group health plan versus ICHRA. Review any changes to premiums and direct contributions you’ll have to pay as well as those your enrolled employees will be required to contribute. For many businesses, costs on both sides have risen dramatically, making ICHRA the most cost-effective choice.

ICHRA vs. Group Health Plan

When comparing ICHRA to the group health insurance plan, keep in mind that the two models are inherently different:

  • Group Health Plan – you’re electing the coverage for all enrollees and subjecting them to required costs, in-network considerations, and plans.
  • ICHRA – you’re customizing a reimbursement ecosystem designed to pay employees for out-of-pocket health costs they submit after they choose their own health plans, either off-exchange or via the ACA Marketplace.

ICHRA allows you to customize reimbursement

If budgets are tight, ICHRA is a great solution because it allows companies to remain compliant while customizing annual reimbursement limits and requirements. There won’t be surprises or exorbitant premiums to pay. And ICHRAs are completely managed by you, so you have ongoing enrollment and reimbursement data to collect to help you continue making adjustments based on benefits budgets and employee needs.

Extend reimbursements to full-time, part-time, seasonal, and temporary employees with ICHRA

The traditional group health insurance plans are typically only available to full-time employees. But ICHRA can be customized to extend reimbursements to other valuable members of your teams. Seasonal staff during peak times of the year, part-time employees, and even temporary workers can all be eligible for your ICHRA platform.

Additionally, how you pay out those reimbursements can be customized, as well. You can set up a reimbursement policy for submitting receipts and finalizing approvals that aligns with how you already manage expense reporting. You can issue checks or direct deposits on any reasonable timeline that makes sense to your existing standards.

Ask for feedback from your employees

If the numbers make sense and the coverage option comparisons are helpful, you might also consider talking with your employees to see what they think. Remember, the company health plan is intended to help them. So, getting their feedback can help solidify which type of health insurance offering is best for your company.

ICHRAs Provide Customizable Plan Selections

With an ICHRA, your employees are responsible for enrolling themselves in their own individual health plans. They will enjoy taking control back of their coverage options based on their household budgets, healthcare provider preferences, and dependent needs. With ICHRA, they can then submit receipts for reimbursement for qualified medical expenses, based on what they spend throughout the year.

ICHRAs Reimburse Actual Out-of-Pocket Expenses

ICHRAs are popular among employees for several reasons, but the big perk is getting reimbursed for actual out-of-pocket expenses. In a group plan, employees pay their contribution for coverage, sometimes without using the plan at all. Employees may find ICHRA more appealing because they are free to choose their own plans and pay only for what they actually need. Additionally, ICHRA could help cover the costs of their monthly premiums for ACA coverage, prescriptions costs, copays, vision, and dental expenses.

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