As we ended 2016 and began 2017, our agency sensed a “sea change” within our clients and what they want in their health insurance benefits going forward. The frustration over the Affordable Care Act along with the government’s inability to make any real changes going forward was palpable. Since the government seems incapable of agreeing on what would be best for us as a nation, we decided to change our tune rather than waiting on them to form a solid plan regarding health insurance for the self-employed and small business owners.

So let’s get right to it then. As they say, “just the facts, ma’am”. Most of you are used to the new ACA plans for the self-employed in that they are all HMOs, have little choice as far as doctors and hospitals, are expensive as a house payment and generally “suck” as many of you have told me. Add to that the fact that the new administration is threatening to cancel federal subsidies along with not promoting the ACA for plan year 2018 and this will just serve to make rates climb into next year.

Most carriers have already filed for significant rate increases with their respective State Department of Insurance, so get ready!

So what can we do, you ask? One area where the government has not had nearly as large an influence is the small group health insurance policy especially in Texas. While it’s true that all plans must meet the requirements of the ACA law and small business health plans are no exception, that market has remained very stable in comparison. To be specific, all health insurance policies including both individual and small group plans for businesses must adhere to the 10 essential health benefits as outlined in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Some of these include preventive care, emergency services and the ever popular no pre-existing condition limitation.

Since Texas health insurance carriers are able to far better predict what their expenses will be with small group health plans, the rates are typically more stable year over year. You know those massive 50% rate increases you love? They don’t really happen with small or large group health plans.

Let’s go over a few more advantages of this type of coverage. First and foremost, the premiums you pay to install small group plans for a business are 100% tax deductible.  I know some of you are saying, “but I already deduct my premiums, so how is that an advantage?” Even though almost every one of you deducts the premium for your family, you’re generally not supposed to according to the IRS. Don’t worry, if you are ever audited, they’ll help you correct it.

Another key point is that you can still purchase the coveted PPO plan with a small group. In Greater Houston, we’ve had many clients who are either going through cancer treatments at MD Anderson or have kids at Texas Children’s Hospital or who use the Texas Children’s Pediatrics clinics. Neither of those are available with an individual HMO policy, but both are available with a small group plan for your business.

So how do we form one of these? Just call us at either 866.270.6209 or fil out this Request form for a Small Group policy for your business. One of our agents will be in touch before you can say, “Go Texans!”.