Since 1986 our specialty has been helping clients find the best medical plans to meet their needs. We are certified to help with both exchange and non-exchange plans. Whether you are looking for a comprehensive benefits package or simply need advice on the new tax credits, we can help!
As independent brokers, we have access to all of the major carriers such as, Regence BlueShield, Premera Blue Cross, UnitedHealthcare, CIGNA, Aetna, Kaiser and numerous trust and association plans. We will begin researching your options as soon as your information has been received and a comparison report of all the various plans will be prepared for you.
2019 Small Group (2-50) Average Rate Changes - Some Decreases!
These must be approved by insurance commission and are often adjusted - Final rates in October.
Regence BlueShield -2% (wellness discount changing from 4% to 3%) Asuris NW Health (Regence owned for E WA) -3%
Premera Blue Cross 1.1%
United Healthcare 1.6%
Kaiser: Options PPO 1.5%, HMO Plans 4.4%
Large Group 50+
Groups with 50-1000 employees are classified as "Merit" groups and have significantly more options than smaller groups. Rates can be based on experience (claims history), there are more carriers and there is more flexibility in plan design. There are also added layers of ACA requirements affecting these groups.
Partial-Self Funding is very common for merit groups and has safeguards to limit the employer’s overall risk .
Partially self-funded plans give employers control and flexibility that a fully insured plan cannot. A skilled broker assembles an administrator, stop loss carrier and provider network. Savings for the employer can be very significant.
Groups with 2-50 employees are classified as "community" rated. That means rates are not based on health, gender, size or industry. Rates are only based on age and zip code. For example, a group of 3 male mechanics with an average age of 40 would have identical rates to a group of 30 professional women if their average age was 40.
Rates are filed and approved by the state insurance commissioner. Regardless of source (direct, local broker, out-of-state broker), the rates will be identical. Typically an average rate is assigned and rates are set for the year.
There are also many association plans that most employers are unaware they may qualify for. A competent broker is appointed with the dozen or so association plans.
The self-employed have better options with group plans than they do with individual plans on the exchange. Group plans are less expensive, have better benefits and usually have less restrictive provider networks.
However, it can be challenging to qualify for group plans. Factors include business type (Corporation, LLC, Sole Proprietorship), compensation type (W-2, 1099, or distributions) additional staff or spouse employees, etc. Different carriers have different enrollment requirements.
Please read about who can qualify for group coverage and request a quote if you believe you may qualify.
We are often asked about other solutions. Here is a quick summary:
Costco Plans: Costco does not have any unique plans, they have access to the same carriers with the exact same rates and benefits as all brokers. Costco simply refers members to an out-of-state agency located in Las Vegas, Nevada. There is no price advantage using the out-of-state agency that Costco refers to.
Association Plans: Prior to passage of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), there were numerous association plan options with simple qualifications. Association plans are now severely limited and only available to groups in certain industries and restricted by specific SIC codes. Green Financial always checks availability of any industry plans for your group. We have an extensive history with associations and Green Financial is the only exclusive broker for AssociationInsurance.com
Across State Lines: There has been misinformation in the news about Trump's executive order allowing people to save money by purchasing plans across state lines. None of the changes would take effect immediately, and would require new regulations from the Labor, Health and Treasury departments to take effect. Then based on those rules, carriers could create plans to take advantage of this opportunity. If these become available, we would likely not have access to any of these plans until 2020 or later.
Obamacare Plans: There is a lot of confusion about this. Obamacare refers to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This law impacts states and carriers in many ways as to how plans are sold. There are not actual Obamacare plans that anyone can enroll in. The law did expand the state Medicaid enrollment (Apple Health). It also led to the creation of the state exchange where individuals can enroll with private carriers through the online portal and perhaps receive a subsidy. But there is no actual "Obamacare Plan" anywhere in the country that someone can enroll in.