Group Health Insurance
It’s already well-understood that one of the surest ways to gain access to affordable, high-quality health coverage is through an employer–the premiums will tend to be much lower, and will frequently be at least partially covered by the company itself. Not everyone has access to such benefits, however: contractors, entrepreneurs, and others that have non-standard working arrangements frequently find themselves at a disadvantage while negotiating with health-insurance companies. Those who arm themselves with the right information before making a move will tend to obtain far better results than those who stroll unprepared into the fray.
What many people who are seeking health coverage don’t realize is that it is possible to benefit from the same economies of scale that large employers enjoy, but through other means. Employer-provided health benefits, it turns out, are actually a form of group insurance, which (in its most basic form) is an arrangement between an insurance provider and a large group or organization to furnish availability of health insurance to its members. Group insurance, in one form or another, can be obtained through a number of different organizations, companies, societies, or professional associations. While most varieties non-employer-provided group insurance won’t pay a portion of their members’ premiums, they all enjoy the advantages of a stronger bargaining position in the insurance market, meaning far lower costs for each policy-holder.
Why Group Health Insurance?
One of the most important benefits of group insurance is that the premium costs for each member may not be risk-based; in other words, a policy-holder’s risk factors (such as age and gender) do not directly affect what that person pays. This is only possible because membership in the group is based upon something other than health-care needs–situations where groups of people in need of medical care band together in order to improve their bargaining position would not fall under this category, as their increased cumulative risk would result in higher individual premiums, rather than lower ones.
Another major benefit of group insurance is eligibility: under most group-insurance arrangements, members who sign up for health coverage remain eligible to renew their policy for as long as they retain membership in that group. This is a far better arrangement than most individual insurance policies, as such contracts frequently allow the insurer to decline renewal if the insuree’s risk factors have increased substantially up to that point.
Access to some form of group insurance can be obtained in more ways than can reasonably be listed here, varying by location, age, educational status, and myriad other factors. We recommend that you investigate your options to the fullest, and make use of the information resources that are available.