By Alison Nelson, Employee Benefits Account Manager
Alaska may be a big state, but it’s made of over 74,587 small businesses. In fact, according to the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration, 99.1% of Alaska businesses are considered to be small businesses, and that equates to 138,517 small business employees. That’s a lot of employees who will likely want employee benefits, specifically health insurance.
It can be overwhelming to look for insurance options for your employees but that’s why one of the most important steps is finding an insurance broker that you trust, like RISQ Consulting. The team at RISQ is happy to do the research and heavy lifting so that you can focus on your business and employees. No matter who you work with, there are a few key things to know when it comes to finding health insurance for your small business.
In the realm of health insurance, a small business is classified as having 1-50 employees. This segment is often referred to as the “metallic” segment. “Metallic” is a reference to the names of most plans available to small groups, often containing names like “gold”, “silver”, or “bronze”.
Within the small group market, or metallic segment, there are only a handful of carriers readily available in Alaska – Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alaska, Moda Health, Allstate, United Healthcare, and Aetna. When you decide to quote with one of these carriers, you’ll need a census that shows all employees and dependents who intend on enrolling on the insurance plan. From there, the insurance carrier will use the information provided on the census to generate a proposal with rates.
Once you have the various proposals, you can compare the carrier rates and decide which plan is best for your business and employees. Some details to pay attention to is which hospital in Anchorage is considered the preferred hospital, what value-added services are provided by the carrier, and if there are any notable inclusions or exclusions on your insurance plan of interest.
It’s important to note that in the fully insured metallic segment, the insurance rates will be the same no matter who your insurance broker is. This means that if you hear that someone else can get you a better rate for the same plan, with the same census, something is amiss. The importance of a good insurance broker is that they can help navigate the world of insurance for you and ensure that you’re offering fair and competitive benefits for your employees. A good broker also provides support for your plan year round, not just at implementation or renewal.
Insurance can be confusing, but RISQ Consulting is here to navigate this process with you. Who knows, once you find the perfect health plan for your business, you may want to venture into ancillary benefits like dental, vision, or disability, and we can help with that too!
By Alison Nelson, Employee Benefits Account Manager
For better or for worse, the way people are getting their news and information has changed. Senator Mark Warmer from Virginia said in this viral video at a press conference, “With 100 million Americans daily on TikTok, on an average of 90 minutes a day, this is an issue. I imagine most of you would like your networks to get 90 minutes a day from 100 million Americans.”
Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of downsides to people gathering their news and resources from social media. But surprisingly, there are also some positives. For example, let’s focus in on how TikTok is unexpectedly shaping the industry of health insurance.
With consumer habits being formed in the midst of funny cat videos, outfit inspirations, viral dances, and book recommendations, TikTok has slowly begun to function like a search engine. Sure, I can lookup things to do for my next vacation, but I can also lookup what an EOB is, what to do if a claim is denied, or how to get my medication for less money. Brokers, providers, and consumers alike are flocking to TikTok to share their tips and tricks for all things insurance. After scrutinizing some of my industry’s relevant content, I’ve got to say, some of the advice isn’t half bad.
Searching “health insurance” on TikTok will lead you to thousands of videos, most with the goal of helping consumers understand their insurance and teach them about available resources in an easily digestible manner. Below are a handful of topics I saw within a few effortless scrolls.
- What to do when you turn 26 and come off your parents’ health insurance plan
- Individual health insurance
- Insurance basics
- What is HIPAA
- HSA tips and tricks
With an increasing amount of Gen-Z (born from 1995 to 2009) in the workplace, and with Generation Alpha close behind (they’re already 13 years old), it’s important for professionals in all industries to meet the consumers where they want to be met, which, usually means online. The attention-grabbing style of TikTok makes topics like health insurance more palatable to our new workforce generations, and even to the older workforce who never fully understood what they had.
This abundance of health insurance resources on TikTok makes it obvious that this industry is changing. Consumers are savvier than they have ever been. This is incredibly exciting in terms of the educational effort insurance brokers like RISQ Consulting have been striving for. As a health insurance broker, I can’t emphasize enough how important knowing the basics of insurance is.
While I would caution against believing everything you see on TikTok, it is great to see an influx of information readily available to help you learn. Naturally, I always recommend discussing insurance with a licensed professional (preferably one from RISQ Consulting 😊) but, if nothing else, TikTok has proven itself to be a great place to start. It’s amazing to see more and more people take an interest in their healthcare and the healthcare system, after all, knowledge is power.