The Open Enrollment Period, or OEP, is the season where everyone is wondering whether or not they should choose a new health plan, or get health insurance for the first time. If you’re a small business owner, OEP may be the time for you to drop your individual plan, and instead of buying another one, opt for a group plan to help your employees save as well as yourself.
Continue reading to find out more about the advantages of small business health plans and why OEP might be a good time to evaluate your coverage options.
OEP is important since it is the annual window when the majority of people purchase health insurance. However, the time limits of OEP only apply to individual and family health plans. This is great news for small business owners, because it means that you can buy small business health insurance at any time during the entire year, regardless of whether you shop for a plan during OEP or another season.
On average, a small business health insurance plan tends have lower costs per-person than an individual health insurance plan. According to the 2018 eHealth Small Business Health Insurance Report, the average monthly premium per person under a small business health plan was 7 percent lower than the average premium for an individual health plan ($409 vs. $440).
Choosing a small business health insurance plan could help both you and your employees save money on health insurance coverage during OEP this year. In addition to lower costs, there are other compelling reasons why your small business could benefit from exploring group health plan options.
Beyond potentially lower monthly premiums, there are other strategic and financial advantages that go along with buying a group health insurance plan.
Overall, a group health insurance plan provides helpful benefits to both employers and employees, regardless of whether they enroll in a group plan during OEP or other times of the year.
You can purchase group health insurance at any time during the year—one of the benefits of owning a business that qualifies you for small business health insurance! Although the limited time window of OEP only applies to individual and family plans, OEP is often a good time to consider your group plan options, especially if you are a small business owner currently enrolled in an individual plan.
Since OEP is the season when most people enroll in health insurance coverage, it can be an optimal time to discuss health policy options with your employees if they are uninsured. That way, your workers can determine if either an employer-sponsored health plan or an individual plan would be the most affordable choice. Once employees have decided, they can enroll in their own plan during OEP or join your company’s group health coverage.
Many small businesses will often be able to qualify for a group health policy. To qualify for group health insurance coverage, your business needs to meet the following requirements:
In terms of participation requirements, you need to enroll at least 70 percent of your uninsured employees. However, during the Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for small businesses, which runs from November 15 to December 15 each year, the 70 percent employee participation requirement is waived. Note that SEP is distinct from OEP, since OEP is for individual plans, and SEP is for small business plans.
Also, remember that for qualified health plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), your company’s group cannot be denied coverage based on pre-existing conditions.
You can shop for small business health insurance plans during OEP through eHealth.com. Our private health exchange for small business allows you to easily compare multiple health plans from different insurance companies to help you save time and money. By using eHealth’s website, you benefit from:
Ultimately, comparing your free health quotes all in one place with eHealth empowers you to make the right group health insurance decision for yourself and your employees.
To learn more about your group health coverage options during OEP (or any time of the year), visit our small business health insurance page today or speak with one our licensed health insurance agents.