What is Group Health Insurance?

Many Massachusetts residents rely on an employer-sponsored group health insurance plan for their health coverage. Coverage that’s offered is typically included as part of employee’s overall compensation, and it frequently accounts for a substantial portion of total compensation.

Group health insurance offers coverage to a group, or collection, of people. The insured group is often employees who work for the same company, but it can be another collection of residents. In offering coverage to a group, this type of health insurance is distinct from personal health insurance that’s used to insure a single individual, couple or family.

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Who’s Able to Join a Group Health Plan?

Generally speaking, anyone who is a member of an insured group can participate in the group’s health plan. People who present higher risks to the insurance company normally aren’t excluded or charged higher premiums, which is a major distinction between group plans and many personal plans.

When a group health plan is made available to employees, anyone who has been with the company an minimum amount of time and works a minimum number of hours on average can normally qualify for the group plan. For example, full-time employees who have been with a company for 90 days might be able to join the plan. Employees who work part-time or are still on a probationary status, however, may not qualify.

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What Massachusetts Businesses is a Group Health Plan Right For?

Many Massachusetts businesses may want to offer a group health plan to their employees. For companies that employ workers, having a plan available can both make attracting new talent much easier and reduce turnover among current talent. Filling certain positions can be extremely difficult if no group plan is included in the compensation package.

In some cases, sole proprietors may even want a group health plan. Offering a plan may be the best way for the business owner to obtain health coverage, and it’s normally a responsible way to treat even just a few employees.

Although many businesses ought to consider making a group plan available to employees, there’s not one plan that meets every business’ needs. For help finding a group plan that takes into account their business’ particular budget, workforce and situation, business owners should contact a knowledgeable agent who specializes in group health plans. A specialized agent will be able to help business owners determine whether their organization should offer a plan, and the agent can assist with selecting a plan if one is needed.

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Do Businesses Have to Offer a Group Health Plan?

Most businesses technically don’t have to offer a group health plan, but those who choose not to could face a tax penalty at year’s end. Before deciding to not offer a plan, most business owners should talk with an insurance agent, tax professional and legal professional to determine what potential consequences might follow. If a plan is needed, the agent should be able to find a suitable option.

Does Dental and Vision Coverage Come with a Group Health Plan?

Most group health plans don’t include dental and vision coverage. These coverages can usually be added on, and most insurance agents who specialize in group health plans also assist businesses with dental and vision plans. Even once added to a compensation package, however, dental and vision coverage normally remain separate and distinct from a group health plan itself.

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How Can Massachusetts Businesses Find Group Health Insurance?

For help finding group health insurance that’s well-suited to your business’ situation, contact Keefe Insurance. Our independent insurance agents have helped many businesses in Massachusetts find group plans, and our agents would be happy to assist you as well.

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