The idea behind business health insurance is to provide health care for not only yourself but your employees as well. That’s simple enough; well it’s not quite as simple as it may seem at first.

Because health care in the United States is a difficult tangle of rival insurance companies, plans and laws. A businesses willingness to provide health care coverage to its employees is quite often dictated by geography. Some state laws can affect any health policies a company may want to introduce. A recent survey contracted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services claimed that around 67% of employees are covered in one way or another by an employer-sponsored health care plan. One way of putting this into perspective is if a highly skilled worker receives three job offers it is more than likely that at least two of them will include health insurance and the third does not. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to work out which they would choose to go for interviews with.

Health insurance is available in four basic types;

1. Medicare and Medicaid: Medicare is an insurance plan backed by the government for anyone over 65 or is in the later stages of renal failure. With a workforce that is getting older and older there are many businesses that find themselves with employees over the age of 65 that are looking for complimentary insurance coverage. Medicaid is also a government insurance that is aimed at those that are very poor and some disabled categories. Some states are now becoming very strict with employers that completely rely on this type of insurance for their low-wage workers.

2. Traditional or Indemnity Insurance: This more traditional type of health insurance is normally offered by the insurer for a premium, this allows the insured person/persons to pick the health provider of their choice and to have any costs incurred by them paid back by the insurer. You only have to go back about 20 years or so ago and you would see this was the most common form of health insurance. Nowadays unless you own a very large business this kind of coverage is not a viable option so it has become virtually non-existent.

3. Health Maintenance Organizations (or, HMOs): an HMO is an organization of doctors, care providers and hospitals that have made a deal with the insurers to provide health care at a lower rate that they have negotiated. An HMO, s type of coverage uses a primary care physician to organize the insured persons care under that plan. However, the persons insured under this plan will be limited in their choices of hospital, doctors or any other services to those that are in the HMO, but that person could be referred to a specialist outside of the plan as long as the PCP approve it. Under this scheme premiums are reduced because of the scale and management of care.

4. Preferred Provider Organizations (or, PPOs): PPO, s and HMO, s are very similar in some respects but are even more restrictive. With an HMO there might be two or three different hospitals you could choose from as long as they are in the plan. With a PPO the insurance company will have designated hospitals and physicians that are within a dedicated network. The insured person/persons will have a PCP but any care that has to be covered must be done within this framework. If any care should take place outside of this network then the insured will have to meet most or even all of the costs involved. The premiums under this scheme are greatly reduced but then so are your choices in health care options. If you should be lucky enough to live in an area with very good health care facilities then a local PPO plan will provide excellent savings over and above HMO and traditional policies.

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