Increased competition to attract the best employees requires employers to offer a competitive benefits package with a wide choice of coverage.

Most business owners provide health insurance through group plans. There are several types of plans to offer: HMOs, PPOs and POSs, in addition to the newer "consumer-driven healthcare" options. Now that small businesses can purchase health insurance from the government’s marketplace, there are even more choices to navigate. Each has characteristics that will affect your choice for health insurance.

HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) plans generally have the lowest out-of-pocket costs for employees with the least amount of freedom to choose doctors. Usually, members see a primary care physician, whom they can choose from a specific network of doctors. Members usually must be referred to a specialist, if necessary. The larger the network, the more likely their present doctor will participate.  While HMO plans traditionally have been the least expensive option, costs in relation to comparable PPO plans have changed over the last few years.

PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) plans provide more freedom while still controlling costs. These plans generally are comparable in cost to HMO plans, although pricing has been shifting over the last few years. Members choose from doctors within a network to keep costs down, or they can see a doctor outside of the network with higher out-of-pocket costs. Members are usually responsible for a percentage of the cost of covered services, both in and out of network.

POS (Point of Service) plans combine the low out-of-pocket costs of an HMO with the freedom of a PPO. A POS has an HMO tier, which allows members to go through a primary care physician for the lowest out-of-pocket cost, and a non-HMO option for freedom of choice. These plans offer either two-tier or three-tier benefits for flexibility to your employees. These plans are typically the most expensive plans for employers and are not offered by every carrier.

Choosing the right coverage that fits your budget can be overwhelming. At Miller Loughry Beach, we are small enough to give you the personal attention you need when making these decisions and large enough to provide you with the services you require. For more information, call one of our insurance advisors.

Chase Sinquefield

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