Private Healthcare Exchanges: An opportunity to offer great benefits at little or no cost

by Arizona Small Business Association

Private-Healthcare-ExchangesAs a business owner, you’ve probably spent some time thinking about your employee benefits strategy. If you haven’t — you should. After all, employees who are healthy and financially secure are more engaged in their work, and therefore more productive. Good benefits are good business.

Small employers face a unique challenge when it comes to building a competitive benefits package, especially as healthcare costs rise. Small businesses typically don’t have the resources that larger companies do to absorb these costs, making it increasingly difficult to offer coverage to staff.

This is where private healthcare exchanges come in. A private healthcare exchange — also referred to as a marketplace — is an online shopping site on which employees can compare a wide range of health plan options and enroll all in one place. These marketplaces come in all shapes and sizes and cater to employers of different type and size. For many small employers, the easiest and most cost-effective option is one that lets them help their employees get individual health insurance. Employees can shop for coverage from a wide range of coverage options from different carriers, and there is no cost to the business.

Is an individual healthcare exchange right for you?

Answer these 5 simple questions:

  1. Are some your employees not eligible to participate in your group health plan (for example, part-time or contract workers)?
  2. Are you terminating a group health plan?
  3. Have health benefits become too expensive for you to offer?
  4. Are you looking for ways to reduce turnover and retain your employees?
  5. Are you looking for a way to help your employees meet the coverage requirements of the Affordable Care Act?

If you answered “yes” to any of these — a private exchange may be the solution for you.

What are the benefits of a private healthcare exchange?

The benefits of offering individual coverage through a private exchange are numerous for both the employee and the employer. Employees have the freedom to choose from the top health insurance carriers in the state, giving them the flexibility to find a plan that is best for them — not one size fits all. Furthermore, employees enjoy an intuitive benefits selection experience in one online marketplace. Employers, on the other hand, can eliminate administrative costs, improve recruitment and retention of staff; and, best of all — have healthy and happy employees!

The Arizona Small Business Association, in partnership with ConnectedHealth, has developed Connect2CoverageAZ — Arizona’s only individual private marketplace. Small businesses that offer Connect2CoverageAZ are supported by the site’s employer portal, which enables employers to invite their employees to shop for individual health coverage from the top carriers in Arizona — including plans that are tax-credit eligible. Employers can manage their employee rosters, and monitor progress to see who has been invited to shop for coverage on the Marketplace. The employer portal also supports employers with an Employer Resource Center that contains print-ready materials to help communicate the new program to employees.

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