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Unfortunately, my birthday is right at the end of January. Twenty-five days after the Affordable Care Act was implemented, I turned 26. I therefore became too old under the new law to be covered through my parents.
I was 25 when Obamacare went into effect. I had been off my parents’ health insurance plan for some time and had already had some adventures in trying to find affordable coverage on my own.
Finding affordable health insurance has been a consistent frustration of my adult life. I have only had one job that provided coverage for me, and my employer only offered it for a short time. Consequently, a job that pays a decent wage while also offering health insurance would be extremely attractive to me, as it would be to many job applicants.
In fact, a recent LinkedIn survey found that one of the primary reasons why people leave their jobs is dissatisfaction with pay and benefits. Given this situation, it’s in the interest of any organization to do what it can to offer its employees affordable health coverage. And one insurance company making it easier for small businesses to do just that is United Healthcare.
A New and Simpler Way to Shop for Health Insurance
United Healthcare has created a new site particularly suited to the needs of small businesses. Instead of going through the hassle of talking to an associate on the phone or sifting through piles of paperwork, businesses with 2 to 50 employees can shop for healthcare coverage online. Through the site’s self-service system, you as a business owner can easily evaluate various plans and quotes. Rather than merely looking at estimates, you’ll be able to see the actual prices you will be paying based on the information you enter. In turn, your employees will be able to choose from multiple healthcare options, and in some cases, from as many as 27 different plans.
When you first access the site, you will get an overview of what the entire process will be like. Then you will enter your ZIP code, as well as the number of employees you will be covering, including yourself. Your next step is selecting the options you want to provide for your employees. You can determine the coverage you want to offer based upon a variety of factors, including cost. Once you select your plans, your employees will be able to choose which ones are best for them.
This flexibility is extremely helpful since some employees will need to cover spouses and dependents, while others will not. The setup also provides for people who have health issues that are more demanding than those of their coworkers.
Preview Your Actual Expenses
One of the most helpful features of United Healthcare’s new site is that you can calculate your actual costs before purchasing or even signing up for an account. When you begin evaluating your choices, you’ll input your employee information, either manually or by importing it from another application, such as Excel, QuickBooks, or Xero.
At this point in the process, you can create an account if you wish or wait to do so until later. Once you’ve entered your employee data, you can then view your cost per employee. That will help you determine the amount you want to budget for each one. You can set the amount you wish to pay for each employee as a fixed dollar amount or as a percentage of the total cost. Do note that this option depends on the state in which your business resides. United Healthcare enables you to view a couple different breakdowns of your expenses. You’ll be able to see the total fixed amount you will be spending on health insurance each month. You’ll also be able to see the total range your employees will be spending, depending on the plans they choose.
On the other hand, you can also see what you’ll be paying per person, in addition to what each individual will pay based upon his or her plan choice. And if you realize you need to make adjustments to any of your information, you have the ability to go back and do so until you come up with the budget and plans that work best for your situation. You will need to create an account at this point if you have not done so yet, after which you will be able to view a diagram that lays out all of the details of your package. Then all you need to do is fill in the necessary information to check out and pay.
Assistance and More Customization
If you need assistance at any point, there are links throughout the shopping process to help you. There is also a “Contact Coverage Advisor” button at the top right corner of the webpage. Once you have completed your purchase, your employees will be able to easily choose health plans tailored to their needs.
They will also have access to videos and how-tos that will make the shopping process simpler for them. What’s more, in December United will roll out a feature that will make the system even more customized.
With this addition, when employees log in to evaluate their healthcare options, they will answer questions about their lifestyles and personas. Their answers to those questions will help them to select coverage best suited to their unique situations.
Where Can You Take Advantage of the New Site?
United Healthcare’s new site is currently available in the following 15 states:
- North Carolina
- West Virginia
The company plans to increase the site’s availability throughout the country in 2017.
Self-Service at Its Finest
Everyone is busy and, truth be told, most people are not overly excited about shopping for health insurance. For this reason, it’s highly beneficial to have a resource that provides an excellent user experience and makes shopping for insurance as simple and convenient as possible.
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