The actual, complete master policy for a group medical insurance plan can run to the length of a turgid novel, and reading it equal to a stupor-inducing drug. Consider that, depending on the options & insurers utilized, the quotes can sprout into literally dozens of different varieties.

Start by getting a fairly good sense of what you're after by finding out your particular group's characteristics

WHAT DO THEY WANT?

Is your group likely to have little interest in choice of doctors?   What level of premium payment is affordable to them? Are they interested in other benefits such as life insurance, dental, disability income, etc.? Simply ask around, or prepare a short survey form to get information. If you find your people have great similarities in needs, you may be able to limit the number of quotes by looking at fewer plans.

PARTICIPATION

To qualify, participation typically must be 70-75% of eligible members (those working 30+ hours per week). If you find a lower level of interest, obtaining a group product may not be possible. If you also know in advance dependent numbers and the level of interest for dependents, you may further simplify the task.

WAITING PERIOD & CONTRIBUTIONS

Establish the waiting period for new employees. (Typically 30-90 days). Establish the budget for covering your contribution. (Minimum employer contribution is usually 50%.)

RECORDKEEPING

This ever-more-burdensome requirement comes along with any plan you purchase, and is important in the buying decision. Someone must administer the plan, keep records, and comply with the minefield of legal regulations. Failure to do so may mean this good deed you're doing will not go unpunished. Find out if your general liability insurance covers your liability for errors and omissions in administering your plan. (In most cases, it probably does not.) Simply keeping abreast of what rules apply to your group at any given time is now a near-daily chore. You may find the cost of out-sourcing part or all of it worthwhile, and this needs to be budgeted. Insurance carriers usually offer assistance, some very substantial, others hardly any. The responsibility, however, is entirely yours.  The record-keeping & administrative burden is further complicated by privacy regulations which now impose complex and burdensome documentation requirements & rules.

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