Group Health Insurance Renewals

We’re getting into the time of year when a lot of employer-sponsored group health insurance plans get their annual renewal notices. If you’ve had insurance for more than a year, than you know that “annual renewal notice” is an insurance phrase that can roughly be translated, “Your premiums are about to go up.” This can result in emotions ranging from resignation to relief (if it’s a mild increase) to rage. (You may even find yourself responding in a way that doesn’t begin with an “R”). Sure we could sit here and diagnose the reasons for the increase (these would include the increasing price of healthcare and prescription drugs, new and increased government mandates, cost-shifting from Medicaid and Medicare, yada yada yada). But let’s cut to the chase and discuss what you can do about your health insurance bill.

What you can do about it:

  • If we’re really honest, there’s usually not much you can do about your new rate with your current plan and insurance company. You can ask for “rate relief” (your broker, if you have one, should do this), but don’t count on getting any.
  • You can adjust your plan. This usually involves moving to a higher deductible plan to defray the cost of the increases. You might consider offering a “dual choice plan” where you allow your employees to choose between the current plan and one that is cheaper (with a higher deductible or fewer benefits). This might relieve some of the stress on your employees.
  • Unless you like your current plan a lot and you’re fine with the new premium, you should look around. Health insurance is a competitive industry and there are other carriers in the marketplace. At any given time, one or more of them may be aggressively seeking new business or, conversely, trying to chase off some old business (big rate increases are a very effective means of doing so, you know). You need to find an independent agent/broker who will present you with a range of options based on your needs, preferences, and budget.

If you’re in South Carolina, Georgia, or surrounding states, AC Forrest would be more than happy to help you evaluate your current plan and how it stacks up with options with other insurance companies. We do it all the time. There is almost always a way to lower your premiums, and often you can do so without sacrificing coverage. Our consultation is free and there is a “No Pressure” guarantee attached! You don’t even have to wait until your policy renews, but if yours is renewing soon, contact us today!

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