When it comes to health insurance options, there are simply too many to count. It can be challenging to navigate insurance policies and their features and choose the best policy for your small business’s employees.
We’ve put together seven important questions every small business owner should ask their insurance broker when evaluating health plans. These questions will help facilitate a fruitful discussion with your broker and give you a clear understanding of your options. Brokers can also help you narrow down policies to find the one that best meets your business’s needs.
1. What benefits do my employees need?
First, describe your employees to your insurance broker. Are most of your workers younger with growing families? Do you work with an older group of people who may be currently managing chronic health issues? Have you hired employees who are pregnant and need maternal health care services? Or do you have a variety of employees with a range of health issues and needs?
Knowing your employees and their lives is the key to understanding their needs. Once you do, work with your health insurance broker to choose a policy that’s the right fit.
2. What benefits are included in each policy?
When you compare policies, it’s critical to review a summary of benefits and coverage. Your broker should walk you through this document and outline key coverage points. During the conversation, ask about:
Make sure the policy offers mental health services too. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five adults in the U.S. experience mental illness yearly. Not only can mental illness keep employees out of work, but it can also put them at risk for developing other serious health conditions. For example, people with depression are nearly twice as likely (40%) to have heart disease and diabetes than the rest of the population. It’s one benefit you don’t want to go without.
3. What does the digital experience look like?
Since the pandemic, 90% of Americans say the internet has been integral in helping them function, and 40% say they’ve used technology in new ways. Most Americans depend on technology to execute daily tasks, whether it’s to grocery shop, pay bills, socialize and or do other activities.
This means it’s critical to ask your broker about a health insurance company’s digital experience. Most policies offer online payments, a provider search tool and online customer support — and some offer even more. For example, Cigna + Oscar has 24/7 virtual urgent care*, so members can quickly get medical advice at any time, day or night. This can save members time and money by avoiding a costly, and potentially unnecessary, trip to the emergency room. It can also equate to less time off of work.
Cigna + Oscar also offers Care Guides, who can be easily accessed via chat online. These dedicated support representatives include nurses who can help members find a provider and answer questions about their health.
4. How flexible is the policy?
Small business owners are acutely aware of how quickly circumstances can change — and many of them want plans that are flexible.
If this sounds like you, ask your broker about the flexibility of each policy you’re evaluating. If you discover your employees have new health needs, can you adjust to accommodate them? Can you add new digital services? These are important questions to ask, especially if you foresee the need to make changes in the near future.
5. What customer support services are available?
Even though Americans rely more on online services, many people still desire human interaction. Ask your insurance broker which policy offers the best customer support services on the phone and online, especially during open enrollment. As a small business owner, you also need in-depth support to help manage your employees’ benefits — and dedicated teams to help your employees find the right care, stay in-network and improve their health. For example, Cigna + Oscar offers small business owners their own team of Business Guides, who can support members in managing their health insurance accounts.
6. Can you provide a cost comparison for each of the policies?
According to a recent survey conducted by CNBC, many small business owners fear what inflation and a recession may do to their livelihood. As a result, monitoring business costs is a priority. As you evaluate health insurance policies, ask your broker for a detailed breakdown of costs. Remember, it may be worth spending more on a policy that helps your employees stay healthier and engaged at work. Try to look at the big picture, including employee retention, job satisfaction, productivity and overall health.
7. Are there wellness features that can help save money?
When comparing policies, don’t discount the importance of well-being add-ons. Programs that encourage employees to exercise and track their health can keep them engaged and lower your business’s costs. Cigna + Oscar even offers employees a reward of up to $100 per year for tracking their steps.
Remember, mental and behavioral health can have a major impact on employees’ physical health and workplace productivity. As you discuss policies with your broker, ask what wellness programs may be beneficial for your employees and your business’ bottom line.
The right questions are key to your success
The more your insurance broker knows about your businesses and employees’ unique needs, the better. Prior to your meeting, plan your questions to ensure you communicate well to your broker. Clear communication with your broker will help you find the right policy and make any needed changes along the way.
Cigna + Oscar offers access to great doctors alongside a new model of supportive care and innovative technology — all at an affordable price. Visit hioscar.com/business/cigna to learn how we can help.
Cigna + Oscar is designed to work for small businesses like yours. We’re bringing together the power of Cigna’s nationwide and local provider networks, and Oscar’s member-focused experience, to deliver small group health insurance that understands the unique needs of small businesses and their employees.
*Virtual Urgent Care has a cost-share for members on HSA plans before they reach their deductible, after which the copay is $0. Members can only access Virtual Urgent Care via phone. This applies to new groups effective 1/1/2022 and upon a group’s renewal in 2022. Cigna provides access to virtual care through national telehealth providers as part of your plan. This service is separate from your health plan’s network and may not be available in all areas.
Cigna + Oscar coverage is insured by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company. CA: benefits administered by Oscar Health Administrators. Other states: benefits administered by Oscar Management Corporation. Pharmacy benefits provided by Express Scripts, Inc. Cigna + Oscar health insurance contains exclusions and limitations. For complete details on product availability and coverage, please refer to your plan documents or contact a representative.