Self-funded health insurance plans are becoming increasingly popular with small businesses in
The control over costs, options for plan design and savings potential all make self-funded plans more appealing for employers looking for alternatives amid ever-increasing health care costs.
There's just been one problem. For companies with fewer than 50 employees - and certainly below 10 - there have not been many options.
That is why UnitedHealthcare introduced its All Savers Plan in July.
The plan, which has proved popular in other parts of the country, will begin to target
Here how it works: UHC says All Savers is a hybrid plan of traditional self-funded and fully insured plans. It offers benefits for a smaller pool of employees at a lower cost, compared with the rates of fully insured plans, and gives employers a chance to save if they end up spending less on health care costs than anticipated. UHC will take on the loss of overspending and will send a check back to the company if the company saved money.
Griffaton said there aren't nearly enough options for self-funded plans for employers with fewer than 50 employees in the state.
And while insurance brokers say Aetna,
"Unlike your fully insured market in
"So they are really trying to cherrypick a little off of the fully insured marketplace. They are looking for the healthy groups to offer this to."
Marden confirmed the premiums and rates in the All Savers Plan are based off of the health of the employees. But, he said, if approved for a lower rate than fully insured plans, there are even more savings in store for the employer.
Some ofUnitedHealthcare's competitors currently offer these hybrid plans for employers with 25 or more employees, and some offer half of all savings at die end of the year as a reimbursement back to the employer.
Marden feels UHC's All Savers is going one step further.
All Savers covers 10 or more employees, with plans to reduce to five or more in the fourth quarter this year, Marden said. In addition, the plan returns two-thirds of savings to the businesses.
If the employer spends more than what is estimated, UHC takes on the cost, Marden said.
Basically, it's a win for the small businesses.
Griffaton said the smallest groups look for plans that have
"I think some business owners are looking for any alternative that can potentially save them money. They have an opportunity to get into the program and really only pay for medical care based on what they actually consume."
The cost of care is so high that more restrictive plan designs are the only affordable ones for coverage, Griffaton said.
"I am seeing a lot more commercial business quoting on the small group level funded platform," she said. "Many of the carriers are marketingthis type of program for small group business (Aetna/
"Rates are four-tier. Plans are flexible. There are individual questionnaires involved if the group is a certain size, but it can be a win at the end of the year for a healthy small group."
The four tiers typically include a plan for employees only, employees and spouses, employees and children without spouses, and a whole family plan.
Marden said choices are exactly what All Savers will offer with its customizable plans, and unlike competitors with tiered or narrow networks, the All Savers plan is on the broadest network in
The goal is to seek out new prospects, and UHC anticipates several thousand new' members in the first year of the plan.
Marden feels UHC is ready to capitalize.
"Since August of 2014, UnitedHealthcare has added about 180,000 members in the All Savers product nationally," he said. "It has had explosive growth. It is very popular. And because of the popularity of it and the growth we wanted to bring it to the