The cost of regular checkups, preventative care, and medical emergencies is lessened for those with health insurance. Health benefits are among the most sought-after employment benefits, and employees frequently depend on their employers to provide coverage for both themselves and their families.
In an effort to draw and keep talent, a lot of small business owners offer group health insurance to their staff. Searching through the plethora of plans, policies, and industry jargon when looking for a health insurance carrier for your small business might be intimidating at first.
We’ve put together a list of the finest health insurance plans specifically for small business owners to help you narrow down your options.
Additionally, to locate the best provider and policy for your needs if you don’t currently have coverage, you might want to look through our list of the top business insurance providers.
Our Top Picks for the Best Health Insurance for Small Business Owners
- United Healthcare — Largest Network of Providers
- Blue Cross Blue Shield — Best For Customer Service
- Elevance — Best Regional Networks
- Aetna — Best Preventative Care
- Kaiser Permanente — Best Prices
Best Health Insurance for Small Business Owners Reviews
The following business health insurance policies have been rated based on several desirable attributes. To find out more about the top health insurance options for small business owners, keep reading.
Largest Network of Providers: UnitedHealthcare
Why it was our choice: On our list of the best small company health insurance plans for employees, UnitedHealthcare comes in first place. With almost 70 million members, it is the biggest insurance company in the US in terms of membership. 6,500 hospitals and care facilities, as well as more than 1.3 million physicians and other healthcare professionals, are partners of United Healthcare. It gets points for having a wide selection of services and programs, including alternatives for part-time and seasonal employees, in addition to having a strong network and being accessible in all 50 states.
For small enterprises, United Healthcare provides a range of plan options, such as HMO, PPO, EPO, and POS plans. In addition, it offers savings to clients who combine their health insurance with dental and vision treatment, and it publishes free advice on self-care, nutrition, and fitness.
In addition to providing a wide array of plan choices, United Healthcare leads the sector in technological integration. It provides easy-to-use in-app tools that might save potential users time and effort, like claim filing and mental health services (available with some small company plans via a specialized app).
United Healthcare does not provide a platinum plan, which often offers more extensive coverage than other levels, unlike some of the other alternatives on our list. In addition, the business paid the California State Insurance Commissioner’s office $91 million in 2019 for claims that were incorrectly turned down. Although PacifiCare, a UHC subsidiary that was purchased in 2005, was involved in the lawsuit, potential clients should be aware that the business isn’t perfect and are encouraged to check customer evaluations before making a selection.
Best for Customer Service: Blue Cross Blue Shield
Why it was our choice: Our list includes Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) because of its wide coverage network and excellent customer service scores. More than 106 million Americans are covered by BCBS, which is also approved by 96% of hospitals and more than 95% of doctors. Also, it received great marks in several different regions according to J.D. Power’s 2022 U.S. Commercial Member Health Plan Study.
PPOs, HMOs, and high-deductible insurance plans are just a few of the health insurance alternatives that BCBS provides, much like many other insurance companies on our list. Actually, 34 separate, locally owned businesses work together under the BCBS umbrella. This implies that different companies may provide different insurance and coverage alternatives. To find out whether services and coverage alternatives are available in your area, get in touch with your local BCBS provider.
Despite its well-deserved reputation for providing high-quality services and products, online reviews of BCBS indicate that its comparable plan alternatives are more costly than those of its rivals on our list. Furthermore, some plans have deductibles higher than the industry average, which means that members will have to pay more out of pocket for medical care.
In the end, BCBS is a good choice for any small business owner wishing to offer a variety of options and dependable coverage to their staff. However, before choosing BCBS for your small business’s healthcare needs, make sure to double-check the coverage alternatives and customer service ratings offered by your local affiliate.
Best Regional Network: Elevance
Why it was our choice: Elevance (previously Anthem, Inc.) is a major player in the regions it serves despite only being offered in 14 states, mostly because of its cost-effective plans and wide provider network. As a result, employees are less likely to need to go outside of network for care and have more options when it comes to choosing a doctor. Elevance offers coverage at a lower cost to customers, according to a plethora of online sources.
According to online reviews, Elevance is a good option for companies who want to provide their staff members a large network of affordable medical providers. It’s crucial to remember that Elevance has been accused of providing subpar customer support and having a high percentage of coverage denials over a number of years.
Elevance Blue Cross, a local subsidiary, was fined $9.6 million by California’s Department of Managed Health Care between 2014 and 2019. The fines were mostly imposed because Elevance Blue Cross could not appropriately manage consumer grievances. Earlier this year, Elevance was also the subject of an inquiry by the Maine Bureau of Insurance due to claims of underpayment, denied claims, and delayed payments.
Check online evaluations of your nearby subsidiary before deciding on Elevance for your insurance requirements. California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin are among the states where Elevance is accessible.
Best for Preventive Care: Aetna
The reason we choose Aetna was because to its focus on options for preventative care. Aetna has made a significant shift in favor of value-based care in recent years (VBC). The proactive approach to healthcare, including preventative treatments and healthy lifestyle choices, is emphasized. Every plan incorporates elements of VBC that encourage members to make healthy lifestyle decisions, like exercising, eating a balanced diet, and giving up smoking.
Aetna isn’t quite as big as other of the big players on our list; it’s only available in 16 states. Nonetheless, Aetna contributes a significant amount of institutional experience with its 169-year history. Additionally, a plethora of internet sources state that the company’s rates are reasonable in comparison to those of other suppliers.
Aetna has a complaint index of 1.94, per the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. This indicates that within the same time period, it has had around twice as many complaints as the typical insurance provider.
Aetna also paid a $500,000 fine in 2020 for incorrectly rejecting a large number of emergency department claims in California. It’s noteworthy—though concerning—that a lot of major health insurance companies continue to receive a lot of complaints and fines. Proceed with caution and look for additional information about Aetna in your state or area.
Best Prices: Kaiser Permanente
Why we selected it: Based on our search, Kaiser Permanente is the least expensive health insurance plan available to small company owners. It also has another significant difference from the other providers. As a closed organization, Kaiser Permanente manages a network of private hospitals that are only available to its members in addition to offering health insurance.
Kaiser Permanente is a relatively modest organization, with 12.6 million members spread throughout eight states (Hawaii, California, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington) as well as the District of Columbia. However, because of its distinctive business plan, it is the best option for companies wishing to offer their staff members premium medical care at reasonable costs.
Members of Kaiser’s closed system model pay less for medical treatments at its private facilities. It also prioritizes preventative care to lower medical costs and maintain the health of its members, just as Aetna. Employers can also select among gold, silver, and bronze plans, which give a wide range of alternatives. Kaiser Permanente offers copayment HMOs, deductible HMOs, and HRA and HSA-qualified plans within these price ranges.
Although industry associations and review services like U.S. News Health have continuously awarded Kaiser Permanente with excellent scores for quality care, the organization does have certain shortcomings. It’s not a great fit for companies that employ nationally due to its restricted network of medical care providers and limited geographic reach.