2018 Health Insurance Options: Individual or Group Plan?

Are you concerned about health insurance and what plan to choose for 2018? Are you wondering about the state of individual health insurance plans and when it might be time to move back to a group healthcare plan? If you are, then you and I are in the same boat! Yet again, as an employer, I am wondering if a group policy is more cost effective and provides better healthcare options for me and my team than the individual policies we have had for the last few years.


The State of Individual Health Insurance Plans


In many states, insurance companies are dropping out of the individual policy market. Why? Because the administration cut off payments that would have reimbursed insurance companies for the cost of the ACA rebates they are required to pass on to their insured. However, in an attempt to restore these payments, the Alexander-Murray bill was introduced at the end of October, but the bill, which would help reduce premiums, has not been passed.


In some states, you can find a few individual plan options; however, the available options are very expensive. The increase in premiums is what has caused many employers to take another look at group health insurance.


The Right Time to Move to a Group Healthcare Plan


Nearly all of my insurance specialist colleagues have advised me that now is the time to take a serious look at a group policy because it may not be in our best interests to wait for healthcare reform. In order to look at group policy options, you will need to meet non-discrimination testing, which a good insurance agent can help you do.


If you are going to switch from an individual plan to a group plan, you must do so by December 31.


One of the insurance brokers I work with most frequently, and who is helping me choose a group policy, is Eric Haglund of Digital Benefits. If you would like to use Eric as a helpful resource, he can be reached at (678) 905-2371 or ehaglund@onedigital.com.


Indivdual Plans: An Example from Georgia


In Georgia, Blue Cross Blue Shield pulled out of 75 Metro Atlanta counties leaving only 2-3 options for individual plans, depending on where you live. These options include:

  1. Kaiser Permanente
  2. Ambetter (Can only be purchased on healthcare.gov)
  3. Alliant (Only available in a few counties, like Hall)

If you are considering Ambetter or Alliant as an option, make sure you read online reviews of the company first.


State Dental Association Insurance Options


Should you consider buying insurance through your State Dental Association? Honestly, the rates I have seen thus far are very high; however, this may be the best scenario for your family right now (unless you want Kaiser insurance). I heard of a case recently, with the Georgia program, in which the dentist’s premiums for the family totaled around $2,600 per month for a $6,000 HSA deductible ($12,000 for the family).


These are definitely trying times, particularly in the midst of unresolved tax reform, but please know we are here to help you and your family in any way that we can. Of course, as soon as we have more clarity on either healthcare reform or tax reform, we will advise you on ways in which you can use the new regulations to your benefit! In the meantime, let us know how we can be of assistance.