Related Group Insurance
Life Insurance – Basic and Voluntary
Group Life insurance is typically categorized into two types of coverage. Basic, or employer paid and Voluntary or employee paid. More often than not, an employer will offer Basic Life coverage to all employees up to a flat amount or even 1x reported salary levels. Basic Life coverage is typically paid by the employer and to a large degree it is paid at 100% on behalf of the employee. Employers can often go one step further by offering Voluntary Life coverage. Voluntary Life coverage can be purchased through the insurance carrier by an employee for greater levels of protection if needed or desired. Depending on the amount of additional coverage an employee is seeking through a Voluntary offering he or she may be required to complete an Evidence of Insurability form before any additional amounts of coverage may be granted over and above the Guaranteed Issue (GI) level. Amounts under the GI are automatically approved. Amounts of coverage requested above the GI will need to be approved by an underwriter after reviewing the medical conditions that are present in the employee. Voluntary Life offerings may also include spouses and children of the employee if so desired.
Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance (AD&D)
Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) is tied to a Life insurance policy but is priced separately. As the name suggests, there are two separate life changing events that could trigger a potential payout of benefits. Accidental Death events can trigger a payout equal to twice the stated death benefit listed on any Life insurance policy. Dismemberment, due to accidents can also cause a payout to the policyholder, even if death does not occur due the accident. In these cases, dismemberments, depending on the loss of a single limb or multiple limbs, are paid out based on a percentage of the stated death benefit in the Life insurance policy.
A dental insurance plan will help cover the costs of dental care. Covered dental services include exams, cleanings, x-rays, fillings, extractions, crowns, bridges and dentures. Most dental care providers place an emphasis on regular preventative care, which can be covered at 100% with no waiting periods on any plan we represent. In fact, group dental plans have even evolved to look similar to health plans in that there are PPO plans and DHMO plans, which operate in a similar manner to HMO health plans. DHMO plans can offer a lower cost alternative to PPO styled dental plans while still covering all services. Access is limited in DHMO plans to those dental providers that have signed a contract to provide such services while not allowing participants to “leak” from the network.
A Vision plan can help offset the costs associated with proper eye care and vision aides such as glasses and contact lenses. Such programs require the participation of all employees in a group insurance arrangement. Costs are typically less than $6 per employee on a single contract with family style contracts costing around $15 or less. Vision plans allow for an annual eye exam and also offer offsets to the cost of contacts and prescription eye glasses.
Long and Short Term Disability
Disability coverage is fast becoming the most important employee benefit behind health insurance benefits. Group Insurance benefits can offer Short Term (STD) and Long Term (LTD) along side each other or more typically, a stand alone Long Term policy. When offering a Short Term policy alongside a Long Term policy, the Elimination Period on the LTD or period of time that the employee must wait before collecting benefits if medically disabled is typically 180 days. Short Term Disability benefits will be in place for coverage prior to the start of Long Term coverage. Most Short Term policies are designed to begin paying benefits after the 5th, 6th or even 7th day of illness or disability, including maternity leaves. Coverage for STD and LTD typically pay the member a percentage of their reported salary. Examples would be 60%, 66% or even 70%. Many employers will forgo offering the STD benefit and simply offer an LTD benefit with a shorter Elimination Period. In these cases, the Elimination Period on a stand alone LTD policy can be as short as 30 days but more typical policy parameters are 90 days before a member can qualify for benefits under the program.
Multi-state and branch office coverage
Many employers are faced with the issue of having multiple-office settings spread throughout several locations and States. National health insurance carriers such as Aetna, Humana and United Healthcare can easily accommodate such circumstances. Blue Cross Blue Shield organizations are also in a position to meet the demands of such organizations. While each BCBS unit is independently operated, there is a corporate philosophy or understanding that allows each Blues unit to access out of state Blues contracted doctors and facilities and to tap into the contracted rates of that Blues unit. Regional carriers may not be able to offer coverage to all members of a multi-state employer but may offer lower premium alternatives to members within their service area if an employer is in a position to parcel out employees from the larger overall group. Evergreen Health Partners has assisted our clients in taking advantage of such circumstances. While it is still favorable to maintain as large a group as possible for underwriting risk considerations, a group may be able to establish two independent large group arrangements if premium considerations from a regional carrier offer an overall reduction in total premiums paid by the corporate entity.
Foreign and Travel Coverage
Corporations are doing more business abroad than ever in order to maintain growth and competitiveness. As such there is a need to protect high level employees during such times they are away from the States where American health insurance policies will not offer coverage or is simply not accepted by foreign doctors or healthcare providers. Evergreen Health Partners has assisted our clients with this need as it arises. Policies for as short as 5 days or up to as long as six months can be purchased inexpensively through our website.