Business Insurance Quotes
Strength in numbers: Group health for your small business
When it comes to buying a group health insurance plan, small businesses can be at a real disadvantage. Just as you'll get a better deal if you buy a case of cat food at a warehouse outlet like Sam's Club, you'll enjoy lower group health insurance premiums if you're paying for more employees.
Many small businesses have banded together to form group purchasing pools in order to attain better bargaining power. Although these pools are typically centered around metropolitan areas, some statewide pools exist as well, most notably in California, Connecticut, and Texas. It's very difficult to characterize the pools. Some are state agencies, some are private nonprofits, and some are a mix of both. Some purchasing pools even aim to make a profit, although they're closely watched by regulators. Some offer a few different choices of health plans while others offer only one.
If you're looking for a group purchasing pool near you, your local Chamber of Commerce is the best place to start. Many serve as group purchasing alliances themselves. If your chamber doesn't, it should be able to point you in the direction of a regional or statewide alliance near you.
If you have no luck with the Chamber of Commerce, your state's insurance department should be your next stop. Insurance is regulated at the state level, so they should be aware of any groups in the state that help employers buy it. Insurance department telephone numbers can be found by choosing your state from the pull-down menu located in the navigation bar at the top of this page. Certain trade organizations may also be able to get better deals for their members.
The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), a nationwide lobbying group for small businesses, recently started offering group health insurance in selected states. That telephone number is (202) 554-9000.
Group health purchasing pools listed by state
This list, compiled by the Institute for Health Policy Solutions, is current as of September 2003. It focuses on groups that offer recipients a choice of health plans. If you don't see your state or region here, check with your local Chamber of Commerce or your state insurance department to see if there is a group health insurance purchasing alliance. (To find insurance department contact information, choose your state from the menu near the top of this page.)
|State||Plan||Size of Firm||Region||Phone Number|
|California||Pacific Health Advantage||2-50 employees, or employers of any size if they obtain coverage through a qualifying trade association.||Statewide||(949) 766-1905|
|Colorado||The Alliance||Any size||Statewide||(800) 996-CHIP or
|Connecticut||CBIA Health Connections||3-50 employees||Statewide||(860) 244-1900|
|Florida||Florida Community Health Purchasing Alliance||1-50 employees||Statewide||(800) 469-2472|
|Kansas||Alliance Employee Health Access Inc.||2-50 employees||Statewide||(785) 266-1970|
|Michigan||Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce||1-99||Must be located in McComb, Oakland, or Wayne counties.||(313) 964-4000|
|Montana||Community Health Options||2 or more employees||Statewide||(406) 721-6275|
|New York||LIA Health Alliance||2-50 employees||Long Island plus Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk Counties||(516) 493-3007|
|New York||Health Pass||2-50 employees||Five boroughs of New York City||(212) 252-9010|
|North Carolina||Caroliance||Fewer than 50 employees||Statewide||(800) 873-6464|
|Ohio||Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE)||1-250 employees||Northeast Ohio||(888) 304-4769 or (216) 621-3300|
|Oregon||Associated Oregon Industries||2-50 employees||Statewide||(503) 588-0050|
|Texas||Texas Health Care Purchasing Alliance||2-50 employees||Statewide||(800) 842-7289|
|Utah||Care of Utah||2-50||Statewide||(801) 463-9220|
|Washington||HealthChoice||3 or more employees||Statewide||(800) 521-9325 or
Source: Institute for Health Policy Solutions