So you’re thinking about buying health coverage for your California business, but you’re not sure if it’s the right decision. No question, health insurance—especially for businesses with 50 or fewer employees—can be confusing.
Here in Part One: Getting Started, we offer a broad overview of the issues, rules, terminology and other information you should understand early on. Use this information to help you decide whether you’re ready to purchase health coverage for your business. As you go through Part One, keep two things in mind:
- Part One introduces you to many, but not all, of the considerations involved in making a decision on purchasing group health coverage. If you read this section and decide you might be ready to purchase health coverage, you’ll still have more research to tackle and decisions to make. We cover that process in Part Two: Getting Covered.
- Rather than bog you down with in-depth information at this point, we stick to the basics here and occasionally point you to more in-depth information.
In Part Two: Getting Covered, we shift our focus from learning the basics to taking practical steps in the process of shopping for and purchasing a group coverage plan in California. We’ll explain how to get organized, make preliminary decisions, work with a broker, choose a plan and implement the plan.
Because the world of insurance plans can get confusing, and since you likely have limited time to spend, we do recommend using a broker to find possible plans for you and explain your options. However, proceeding without a broker may be fine—for instance, if you know exactly which plan you want to buy and don’t want to compare policies.
In addition, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will introduce a new way to shop for coverage in 2014—the health insurance exchange. The exchange will provide an online marketplace allowing employers to pool their buying power and drive down the cost of coverage.
Keep in mind as you read Part Two that although we often assume you’ll be using a broker, we outline an approach to the process of purchasing an insurance plan that can help guide you whether you’re working with a broker or on your own.