In an effort to curb rising costs, many health insurance providers are reducing the sizes of their plans’ provider networks. While this helps keep premiums manageable for businesses and their employees, it can make finding a group health insurance plan that’s beneficial for employees challenging. If you own a business, you’ll want to find a plan that still has a robust network of providers in the area.
How Many Providers Participate in Your Business’ Group Health Insurance Plan?
A Group Health Insurance Plan is Valuable to Employees
For businesses that want to attract top talent, offering a group health insurance plan is virtually required. Such a plan is an important component of employees’ total compensation, and it’s one of the most basic benefits that many employees still expect to receive from their employer. Without a plan, your business may have a difficult time getting highly qualified applicants for open positions, and even some of your current employees may begin looking elsewhere if another employer is offering health insurance benefits.
A Plan Needs to Have Lots of Nearby Providers
A plan is only beneficial to employees, however, if they can easily access in-network providers. Without local access to in-network providers, employees will either be forced to travel for care or to pay out-of-network rates -- neither of which are preferable options.
Employees don’t want to travel when they’re injured or sick. Additionally, driving will take employees away from work more often and for longer periods of time. For example, if employees don’t have an in-network doctor in Worcester but there is one in Springfield, the hour drive would turn an otherwise routine appointment that might take a couple hours into a day-long affair. Instead of requesting a few hours off or going on their lunch, employees might not be able to come into work at all on the day of their appointment.
Paying for out-of-network care from a doctor who’s local may be more convenient, but it’ll likely be much more expensive. Exactly how much more employees will pay if they choose to see an out-of-network doctor will depend on the terms of the policy you offer and the medical care they need. In some cases, it could be just a few more dollars. In others, it could be thousands more.
An Agent Can Help You Find a Plan with In-Network Providers in Your Area
You won’t be able to make sure the plan your business selects will have each employee’s favorite physician in its network, since you aren’t legally privy to each employee’s health information. You can, however, make sure the plan you decide to offer to employees has lots of providers in the area that they can choose from.
To do so, ask for a list of providers in the area for each plan you’re considering getting. A plan that has lots of in-network providers will have several of the area hospitals in its network, as well as lots of primary care physicians and specialists.
Obtaining in-network lists and comparing them can be time-consuming, but your insurance agent can help you through this stage of the group health insurance purchasing process. Your employees will greatly appreciate your and your agent’s efforts, and you’ll be able to offer a truly beneficial plan to your employees.