Health Insurance Alternatives: How to provide higher quality, lower cost health care for your employees while saving on your overall health expenditures.
In a world where we talk about health care in terms of the latest mandates, laws, and fines, it is sometimes hard to have an uplifting conversation about health care benefits. As a small business owner, are you considering the best options to provide health benefits to your employees, but disenchanted (and sometimes downright confused!) by the current choices? Health insurance options abound, and are certain to be going through upheaval in this upcoming first year of the Donald Trump administration.
Enter Direct Primary Care
There has been a resurgence of medical practices and surgical centers that are choosing to cut out the middleman and deal directly with patients in an environment where insurance carriers no longer dictate which services are provided and compensated. A primary care physician that offers direct pay or cash pay services can almost always provide better service for a lower price. While that may sound too good to be true, not being required to hire staff to navigate the red tape of insurance and service 30-40 patients a day saves an astounding amount of money. This means that patients receive an average of 50% more one-on-one time with their physician, and at a fair price instead of a massively inflated insurance fee.
Many direct primary care physicians offer a monthly membership program–usually at a cost comparable to a gym membership–that gives clients close access to their physician via office visits, telemedicine visits, and email or text communications. Preventative care measures, less waiting room time and the option of phone/computer visits benefits the small business owner in less employee time away from work. Often, direct primary care physicians are also able to provide urgent care and same day appointments, along with reduced cost medications, labs, and imaging.
Health Insurance or Health Share?
Many believe that the optimal role of health insurance is to be utilized in a role comparable to other insurances. We don’t use car insurance to replace windshield wiper blades or get an oil change. Likewise, catastrophic health insurance, more commonly known as a high-deductible plan, is a more sound investment for a typical family.
Many self-insured individuals and small business owners are discovering great savings through joining a medical cost-sharing program, like Liberty Direct. One of many health care cost-sharing options, Liberty Direct will even cover a large portion of a direct pay membership. Their current pricing structure shows that an individual (under 30) will pay $150 a month for membership in a health share plan with a $500 unshared amount (similar to a deductible) and will have up to $60 a month towards a direct primary care membership. This is a significant savings when compared with an insurance plan. Also, as long as the ACA is still in force, cost sharing programs are ACA compatible, meaning you will avoid fines for being uninsured come tax-time.
A winning scenario would be to combine a health savings account (HSA), a high-deductible health insurance plan or medical cost sharing plan, and a direct primary care membership. This would insure 1) the highest level of care for health maintenance and preventative care, and 2) catastrophic coverage–all with a smaller allotment going towards monthly fees and the remainder or your healthcare budget accruing in an HSA.
As always, research your own options to determine the best approach for your family and business, but you can feel empowered in knowing that you are not limited to what health insurance companies provide, both in terms of cost and quality of care. In exploring direct primary care options, you can also find satisfaction in supporting small business and adding value to your personal network, your own personal healthcare, and the health and well-being of your employees.