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Jan. 1st 2019 Small Group Rates Delayed

Small Group Rates Delayed 

Every year the health insurance companies of Indiana have to submit their rates and plan designs for approval through the Indiana Department of Insurance. In the past, this filing would be submitted for review and approval in the month of May.  The filing for 2019 small group fully insured policies was extended to the end of June. This extension has also extended when the department of insurance would approve the 2019 rates. 

The main Indiana insurance companies like Anthem and UnitedHealthcare are not sure when rates will be approved. It could be October 15th, or we could end up in the month of November before we have approved rates.

This delay is having large unintended consequences for Jan 1st small group both under the affordable care act and legacy groups!

80%+ of small groups renew Jan 1st.  Under the ACA fully insured market, these plan designs change every year. The plan changes are not just minor, we have seen deductible, co-pays, co-insurance have huge changes that create more cost sharing to the insured. A perfect example was UHC 2018 introduction of a plan that had 50% co-insurance for outpatient services. The plan was advertised as an 80% co-insurance plan but in the details (small print) it was determined outpatient was 50%. This creates a large cost sharing when the out of pocket max is $7,000+.

In a perfect world, a small group should make renewal decision at least 60 days prior to the actual renewal date. Under the ACA, by law small group fully insured renewal rates must be released 90 days in advanced. 

If 2019 rates are not approved until November, Indiana small companies will not have much time to make decisions or even review alternate options. 

Every Insurance agency/broker active in a small group (there is not a lot of us) is going to be overwhelmed with request for proposals and learning the new group insurance policies being offered. 

group insuranceNefouse & Associates Solution for Small Group:

Our solution to the 2019 small group rate delay is both being proactive and utilization of technology. First, it must be determined if the fully insured market is the best option for your company.  If your small group company is relatively young and healthy, then reviewing partially self-funded options may be in your company’s best interest. 

With the bulk businesses renewing for Jan. 1st, technology is becoming the quickest option for enrolling and employee education for small Indiana groups. We offer a benefit admin platform delivers on both the education, installation and new employee on-boarding. We can build out a client’s enrollment platform in less than three hours, with employees reviewing and enrolling in company benefits in less than 24 hours. The platform is customized to the clients’ company with logos and dedicated domain name. This is one of the added services we provide our clients at no additional costs.

Our proactive broker approach is all about dedicating the time to reviewing the plan contracts to advise our clients of the best option. Contract review is difficult during normal business hours and really has to be done after hours, this way there are no distractions. Once reviewed, we ask the carriers for an explanation of the area of uncertainty. The response time to these questions can be long, the carrier rep normally will not answer them as they don’t know or want to take on the liability. If the insurance companies legal must give the answer, it can take over a month. If the summary of the benefit chart does not match up with the plan quote, it may be better to disqualify that plan design as an option. If we (as your broker) do not have access to a certificate of coverage (COC), which we won’t until after the plan is issued, you have to be very cautious on plan election.

For Indiana small group health plans, using a broker like Nefouse & Associates that actually cares is the first decision that has to be made.  If you are a small Indiana business will no employees or less than five, you may be a good candidate. Contact us, and we can provide information on the Jan. 1st 2019 Small Group Rates.