What is a good group health insurance carrier for <5 employees small business all working remotely in different states?
We have 4 employees residing in California, Hawaii, and Washington. One of them will start being based out of Tanzania in July for an indefinite amount of time. Because of our special circumstances, shopping for a group health insurance plan has been difficult. Your advise would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance!
I don't know about CA but in TX you could be a group with remote employees. Carriers with provider networks in Hawaii, Washington and CA such as United Healthcare would probably cover you. I strongly suggest that your Tanzania person have insurance in CA but get international coverage through someone like International Medical Group - www.IMGLOBAL.com. Most carriers have limited coverage outside the US. Good luck.
This will depend on the state the company is in. In MA you need to have 51% of employees working or residing in-state to get group coverage for all vendors. In NY one vendor requires 51% while another vendor simply required a plurality of employees in the state. There are other states where you just need 1 employee in that state to act as an anchor.
If you let me know the state the company is in, i'd be happy to do a little legwork.
Business Insurance & Investment Services of MA
Have you considered having your employees sign up for individual or family health plans with the provider of their choice in their state and then reimburse them for the premiums? I am not in the insurance industry but I was working with a company in California that had a similar dilemma and the information I was given followed the 51% rule that Nate indicated for MA. The company did not meet the requirements and provided employees with healthcare through reimbursement. The drawbacks as I understand them revolve around preexisting conditions until Jan. 2014 when the Affordable Care Act removes that limitation and the fact that the reimbursements are considered additional compensation to the employees and are taxable. Just something to consider.
I spent two years researching health insurance for my employee's AIG has the best coverage with the best prices. I worked with a broker, and found that they were by far the best for a small office.
Update: our company decided to open up an HRA through Paychex (with whom we do payroll) so our employees have the flexibility of choosing their own plan to meet individual needs. They then get reimbursed tax-free (beneficial for both employee and employer) every month up to the amount which the company sets. For now, this scenario works best for us. The HRA is managed by ZaneBenefits, which can offer the same service without the Paychex affiliation.
Perhaps this info could be useful for someone!
Blue Cross typically works well without of state employees. They have a program called the Blue Card which will allow the home state carrier (the state ware your home office is located) process the claims. You will want to use the PPO plan as apposed to a HMO because of multiple states.
I've helped a lot of clients in this situation. Our model allows our clients employees to have 10-15 health plan options wherever they are located. Feel free to give me a call and we can discuss in more detail.
Where is your company based? This will help determine a lot.
Have you had the chance to check out Assurant? Let me know if you would like for me to assist.
The best advice I can give, is for you to let each employee shop their own insurance in each individual state and up their salaries to cover the insurance premium. You CAN do it with a group like you wanted but it's going to be a pain in the butt when it's all said and done. If you HAVE to go that rout look at Anthem, United Health Care, or Cigna those would be my three picks to shop. Hope things turn out well for you and you get it all figured out! If you ever want to chat one on one call my office at 755-353-7586 and some one will answer your questions :)