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Understand Group Health Care and Your Options

Whether you are a small business ...

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Understand Group Health Care and Your Options

Keeping good employees isn’t easy. Offering benefits like quality health insurance can help. Agri-Services Agency understands the unique needs of farms and agribusinesses. Whether you are a small business with two employees or a large company with hundreds of employees on multiple operations, we can help develop something specifically to meet your unique needs.

So why should you offer health insurance to your employees? There are a number of reasons to offer insurance to your employees. The first of these is to attract and retain employees. As the labor market gets more competitive, it is difficult to attract and keep good employees. By offering insurance to your employees, you differentiate yourself from other employers. Employees see value in these benefits, which gives them another reason to stay with you. 

The second of these is to improve productivity. When your employees have coverage, they are more likely to go for preventive services like physicals and screenings. Additionally, coverage encourages employees to go to the doctor when they are sick and get a prescription that may help them return to work more quickly. Having insurance coverage allows your employees to be healthier, return to work quicker and stay on the job.

The third of these is compliance. As part of the new health care reform law (ACA), employers with more than 50 employees are required to offer health insurance to their employees or face a financial penalty. Agri-Services Agency has a number of low-cost solutions that allow employers to be compliant with the law.

Agri-Services Agency works with a variety of carrier partners that offer competitive rates, nationwide access and 24/7 customer support. We offer a variety of plans with different options and will work with you to develop a customized plan to fit your farm or agribusiness. 

There are a number of product options that vary by health carrier and region of the country. When looking at options, people are typically looking at three things: health plan design, provide network, and price.

When looking at plan design and coverage, consider the following:
  • Deductible levels
    • Deductibles can range $500-$6,500. Consider what you are comfortable with and how those deductibles affect the cost.
  • Out of pocket maximums
    • This is the most you will pay in a give year and can vary greatly
  • Prescription drug coverage
    • Consider if you are more comfortable with low copayments or if prescriptions are subject to your annual deductible.
  • Provider networks
    • Some carriers may only have one provider network available, while others may provide you a choice. Smaller, more restrictive networks may allow you to keep your premiums costs down, but you always need to make sure that your doctors and hospitals participate in the network.

With all of these considerations, Agri-Services Agency will walk you through the process to ensure you have the plan that best fits you.

There are a few different products that are available through Agri-Services Agency. These options vary by health carrier and the region of the country you are in. Products that may be available to you include:
  • HMO. Health maintenance organizations (HMO) typically do not have out of network benefits with means if your doctor or hospital is not in the network, there is no coverage. HMOs also require you to choose a Primary Care Physician (PCP) and all of your care if coordinated through your PCP. HMOs are typically are most restrictive plans.
  • PPOs. Preferred provider organizations (PPO) typically have the largest networks. They also have out of network benefits that require higher out of pocket costs.  PCPs are not required
  • EPOs. Exclusive Provider Organizations (EPO) are similar to PPOs but they do not have out of network benefits
  • HDHPs. High Deductible Health Plans (HDHP) typically have higher deductibles than other plan designs.  Typically all benefits are subject to the deductible including prescription drugs except for preventive benefits which are covered in full.  HDHPs can also be coupled with Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)
  • HSAs. HSAs are savings accounts that are owned by the employee and can be used for out-of-pocket medical expenses
  • STM Plans. Short Term Medical Plans (STM) are typically like PPOs in coverage and networks.  The difference is that they only cover you for a short period of time (typically 60 days) and can be purchased outside of the annual open enrollment.  Having one of these plans does not protect you from the healthcare reform individual mandate penalty
  • Agri-Services Agency Plan. Agri-Services Agency also administers our own plans that follow all of the rules of healthcare reform.  They are only available to certain individuals and in select states.  Call Agri-Services Agency to see if it is available in your area
  • ‚ÄčAgri-Services Agency Captive Health Plan. Agri-Services Agency also has a health captive program that is offered to employers group of 2 employees or greater.  If follows all of the rules of the healthcare reform law.  They are only available to certain employers and in select states.  Call Agri-Services Agency to see if it is available in your area

Agri-Services Agency knows the challenges of navigating the health care reform rules. We are here to help. Some of the items we are able to help with include open enrollment notices, COBRA compliance, and federal compliance with summary plan descriptions.

Open Enrollment Notices. There are specific requirements based on your group size around what types of information needs to be sent to employees and when they need to be sent. Agri-Services Agency has guides and checklists which will help you stay in compliance with healthcare reform. We also have sample notices that you can use as opposed to starting from scratch.

COBRA Compliance. When an employee leaves employment, in some circumstances that are eligible for COBRA continuation of coverage. This can be complicated and Agri-Services Agency will walk you through what you need to do and what you need to offer to employee that have left employment.

Federal Compliance with Summary Plan Descriptions (SPDs). Most employers are not aware that there are specific requirements in what you have to provide to employees in the form of a summary plan description when offering benefits. Agri-Services Agency will give you the guidance you need to provide the right information.

All of the services and guidance we provide as it relates to healthcare reform is at no cost when you have your health insurance through Agri-Services Agency. We have a number of options, including programs specially developed for farms and agribusinesses, that may be the right solution. Give us a call today at 1-877-466-9089 to start the conversation!