When looking at any service (or employee benefit) for your business, it’s good to know about all of your available options so you can make the best decisions. And beyond the traditional employer health care plans we know (and love), there are some overlooked options that can work for some individuals and companies in specific situations. These include: mini medical, short-term and some faith-based health sharing plans.
But first, just a reminder that health insurance, like all insurance, works by pooling risk. Everyone pays premiums, then some people get sick, and some people don’t. The health insurer then takes the pooled premiums and pays the claims of the people who got sick, with hopefully a little left over for profit. Insurance pools work only if there is a mix of sick and healthy people. If only sick people join the plan, the costs will skyrocket and so will premiums. No one knows if they will become ill or injured, and that is why people buy health insurance.
So with this in mind, let’s take a look at some of these other options out there.
Mini-Medical Plans — Mini-med health plans feature VERY limited benefits, like a few office visits and preventive care. These plans are offered by certain employers who are looking to provide something of value, but cannot afford a comprehensive health plan. They can be good for healthier workers who may not need a comprehensive suite of services, especially if paired with other types of plans to fill in the gaps.
Short-Term Medical Plans — In February of 2018, the Trump administration announced that it was going to allow insurers to sell short-term, limited-duration health insurance plans to individuals. Again, these can be a cost-savings benefit, and as you may have guessed, the duration of the plan isn’t always for a full year and isn’t a guarantee to be renewed each year either. Those plans generally do not cover drug treatment, prescription drugs, and definitely not maternity care. The Kaiser Family Foundation released a report about it if you’re super curious.
Faith-Based Heath Cost Sharing Plans — A growing number of people are turning to health-care ministries to cover their medical expenses instead of buying traditional insurance. The ministries, which operate outside the insurance system and aren’t regulated by states, provide a health-care cost-sharing arrangement among people with similarly held beliefs. Their membership growth has been spurred by an Affordable Care Act provision allowing participants in eligible ministries to avoid fines for not buying insurance. The costs are very attractive to individuals, but since they aren’t technically “insurance” things like non-coverage of pre-existing conditions and the like are contained within their language.
As if health insurance and employees weren’t complicated enough, now we have these new options to consider. But no one said ruling your world was going to be easy! My expert team would LOVE to make it easier for you by answering any of your questions about these areas and helping you select the PERFECT plans for your company and your unique situation. And that’s one option that you’ll always have available to you!