What Do You Do for Health Insurance?

Earlier this week, Scott Krager tweeted:

Getting health insurance for a small company is nearly impossible.

Having been on my own for over six years now, I’ve definitely had to deal with that. It’s not something that I’ve ever seen anyone blog about, though, so I thought I’d weigh in with what’s been working for me.

Finding an Individual Plan

I switched to an individual health insurance plan near the end of my COBRA eligibility period. Like any good Internet marketer, I Googled something like individual health insurance and just started with the first link :)

eHealthInsuranceI never went any further, though, because eHealthInsurance was amazingly good. (They’re not paying me; I genuinely mean that.) I’m instantly skeptical of companies starting with “e” that make money generating insurance leads, but these guys are a real business.

Through eHealthInsurance, I ended up selecting Golden Rule, the UnitedHealthcare subsidiary that focuses on individual plans. I don’t have any problem recommending them. There are a few things that being responsible for my own insurance has taught me, though.

They raise your rates every year

The rate for our first year with Golden Rule were really good. They increased the rates for our second year, but I still couldn’t complain. After a few years, though, those rate increases have really added up. I’ve talked to others with the same situation. It might be time to look for another provider.

The value is more than just insurance

I always viewed insurance as “I pay some, and they pay some” — i.e. we just share the cost. The difference in various insurance plans was just how much of the cost they shared.

What I never realized, though, was that I pay much less right off the bat than I would without insurance because these insurance companies have negotiated special rates with the providers. I’ve seen some cases where I paid 90% less just because the insurance company enforced lower prices on the provider. With three kids, there have been some months where those savings alone were greater than my monthly insurance payment.

Augmenting Your Insurance

Chances are, the plan you pick will have a really high deductible and/or won’t cover as much if you don’t want the monthly cost to be really onerous.

AmeriCardThat’s the case with me, so I’ve started supplementing my insurance with AmeriCard. Starting at $12/month, it gives me access to the same negotiated rates as having insurance, but with a MUCH lower monthly cost. That means I now get things like Vision and Dental coverage that I didn’t have before.

A Group May be as Few as 1

What I haven’t investigated yet though, and what I believe Scott is referring to specifically, is Group Insurance plans. Before you disregard this, you need to know that some states allow group plans for single-employee companies under the “Business of One” provision. The number one advantage of group plans is that they usually can’t exclude you because of pre-existing conditions.

Do any of you have experience with getting group insurance for small businesses like we run? Have your experiences with insurance been the same or different than mine?