What’s the first step for setting up a group plan for my overseas staff?
Getting a quote is the first step in the process. To do that, we need initial census information which is a listing of your staff’s (and their dependents’) names, birthdays, gender, locations, and citizenship. We have a spreadsheet that can be downloaded from https://www.gninsurance.com/group-health/quote/. This is organized in columns showing the information needed. We’ll go over on the phone some additional administrative information that is required to get a quote. The rest is up to us.
We are a small organization. Are we eligible for a group plan?
Several of the insurance companies we work with will accept a group with as few as 2 members for setting up a group plan. So, you are never too small of a group for getting quotes. In fact, it makes sense to get quotes when small so that new staff can be eligible can be enrolled automatically.
Can people select their own deductible and benefits on a group plan?
Everyone on the same group plan must agree to the deductible and benefits the group has chosen. However, for large groups (over 100), some companies will offer 2 options, that employees can select. The unique benefit of working with a broker such as Good Neighbor is that we can offer customized solutions than by going to multiple carriers.
What are the benefits of a group plan vs. individual plan(s)?
Here are just a few of the major benefits of group plan vs. individual plans:
- A blanket plan that guarantees coverage regardless of age and medical condition of all future employees and their families.
New employees knowing that they will have coverage before they leave for their overseas assignment is a tremendous blessing, isn’t it? This is a reflection of your excellent member care as well. They also know ahead of time the costs of coverage as does the organization, making planning that much easier.
- You receive services, provided by Good Neighbor, at no additional cost, helping your members resolve claims, answering benefit questions, and negotiating for you at renewal time.
You also have the reassurance of know that you have done your due diligence since not only are you getting multiple quotes, but saving your staff hundreds of hours of their time and energy, having to find insurance on their own.
- A comprehensive benefit package for your employees at reasonable cost.
A group plan can consists of medical, medical emergency evacuation, with options for Term Life and AD&D for employees and dependents, dental, vision, and even disability. Having all these benefits in one plan allows affordability and administrative convenience. Having individuals on different plans with different benefits is a nightmare for most H.R. departments, who often can be of little help when a call comes in from overseas due to the variations and inclusions/exclusions included of the different plans.
- The point of a group plan is averaging the premium so that no family or individual pays more due to age, poor health, pre-existing conditions or child needing extra medical attention. Newborns are automatically accepted for full coverage regardless of conditions when born.
Are all group health plans the same?
That’s why it’s important to work with a broker who offers several top-rated carriers, to provide excellent options with competitive prices. Some brokers work primarily for one carrier, and therefore can only offer limited options.
The best way to select a group health plan is to work with a broker that knows how to customize your group health benefits to meet the needs of your staff’s usage to guarantee that you are not overpaying for benefits that you do not use. (Some groups don’t need all the “bells and whistles”.)
Good Neighbor has good working relationships with multiple insurance carriers so that we can offer you various plans according to your budget and exact needs. There are plans that are rich and comprehensive in benefits for those who want the greatest insurance protection from their policy. There are also plans with no frills and the greatest monthly savings where they have only benefits they absolutely need. Then, there are plans that are somewhere in the middle, offering enough benefits to satisfy your members.
Are there group plans for foreign national workers?
Yes, we can split your group into U.S. expats which have coverage in the U.S. and Third Country Nationals (TCNs) which don’t need that benefit. There is a huge savings when TCNs are quoted separately. There are also plans for local nationals. If these are few in number and a small percentage of the larger group, these can be included with your U.S. expats.
Do we pay more by going through a Service Provider such as Good Neighbor when setting up a group plan?
No. We are paid by the insurance companies through the commission their internal sales representative would normally make. The additional benefits you receive are additional help packaging your quote request, knowledge of how to negotiate and what you can negotiate, an advocate who knows the underwriters and what they are looking out for, and someone who can help you get multiple quotes at once, rather than approaching and following up each company individually and wasting your time. We also create a unique easy-to-read comparative analysis spreadsheet so that you can see each option side by side to make an informed decision.
That’s just what we do on the front end. On the back end, we are here to answer questions, explain benefits and help with any challenges that may arise whether, billing, enrollment, claims or anything else.
What are our options if the proposed renewal increase is considered too much by our employees?
One of the services we provide for clients is shopping for them at renewal time. We will send out quote requests to multiple carriers, if any proposed rate increase is unreasonable. We also negotiate with the company to find a way to bring down the increase.
Understand how “trend” causes your renewal rates to go up. https://www.gninsurance.com/documents/Understanding_Trend_and_Increase_at_Renewal.pdf
Besides getting quotes, we can also work with you, and your current insurance company, to modify specific benefits (such as increasing your deductible), in order to lower your renewal rates. Sometimes insurance companies will reconsider their renewal offer when they know you are shopping around. We can facilitate that process on your behalf. We also offer a workbook for free that will help you track your progress over the year to help you receive a lower renewal.
Does your current broker or carrier do that? We didn’t think so.
It’s one reason that groups that have experience negotiating with the larger carriers are switching to Good Neighbor Insurance.
How much time does it take to set up a group plan?
That really depends on your group and how motivated you are/how quickly you turn in your census.
Typically, it will take at least one month to complete the process, from the time the quote requests are sent to the insurance companies. Since all group insurance starts on the first of the month, if we get started mid-month, it will take a minimum of a month and a half.
If only one or two people are making the decisions, it goes quicker. The more people involved in the decision making process, the longer it takes to get a consensus, usually.
We also help current staff coordinate the ending of their current policies with a new group policy. We frequently do this for our clients.
Do we need 100% participation to have a group plan?
No. Most insurance companies like to see 75% or 80% participation from your staff. We also work with an insurance company that will accept groups of any size, and any participation ratio, as long as they have 50 employees worldwide. The best thing to do would be to call us prior to downloading forms off our site so we can speak and learn your needs. We can, usually, let you know right away, with a few questions, what may be the best direction to go for you and your members.
Are there other ways to save on renewal premiums besides switching carriers?
We have published four guides as well as a workbook (see below), to help organizations learn how to reduce their health insurance premiums along with the tips and strategies we use here at Good Neighbor Insurance. If you get you insurance direct through a carrier, you may also be wasting money.
Call us today, 1-480-813-9100 or email [email protected] and let us see where you might be able to save you hundreds, perhaps thousands of dollars.
To help you save on your international group health insurance
- Free Guide: How to Choose Good Group Health Insurance
- Free Guide: How to Run and Maintain a Sustainable Group Health Plan
- Free Guide: Advanced Tips and Techniques – How-to save on your group insurance
– Free Accompanying Workbook – Advanced Tips and Techniques Companion Guide!
- Free Guide: Self-Funding Your Group Health Insurance
- Infographic: Group health options in .pdf format
- Whitepaper: “Do we need a broker?” .pdf
- Special Report on “Understanding ‘Trend’ and how it affects your renewal rates”
- Download our group brochure