What is the difference between individual and group health insurance? In Washington, there are two main differentiators for these plans. These are who offer the plan and the benefits of the plan. Generally, you’ll find that group plans have better benefits than individual plans.
Employers offer group health insurance
Contrary to individual insurance where someone finds their own plan, group insurance is offered by employers.
Individual health insurance
Individuals sign up for health insurance through Washington Healthplanfinder during open enrollment (November-January each year). Health insurance brokers will guide you through the process of selecting a plan based on your needs.
Group health insurance
Group plans don’t have an open enrollment period like individual plans do. This process can start at any time. As the business owner, you will work with a broker to find a plan that works for your employees. Renewals occur yearly. A broker will help you make the necessary changes and look into ways you can save on rates.
Benefits of group plans
Individual plans cost more than group health insurance plans. With more people on the plan, there are more deductible options and better prescription benefits. Businesses typically have 50-75% of employees participating in a group plan and dependents that are covered, which allows for these benefits. The premium payments will vary across group plans, depending on the ages of employees.
There are more network options for groups. What is available will depend on the carrier, however, you can choose from PPO, HMO, and POS plans. Similarly to groups, individuals can apply for HMO and POS plans. Only groups have access to PPO plans in Washington.
Would you like additional coverage for your employees? You have the option to include supplemental insurance. This would include dental, vision, disability, and life insurance. As the employer, you choose what is provided for employees.