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Shop, Get Quotes and Buy Health Plan Coverage Online

by Janet Attard

small business health insurance shopping
Image source: Graphicstock.com

Sponsored by UnitedHealthcare

Thanks to a new online site created by UnitedHealthcare, small businesses in a number of states have a new, simple way to shop online for health insurance plans to offer their employees. An easy-to-use online self-service center, the site is designed to help employers with between 2 and 50 employees save time looking for insurance, and potentially increase the number of plans they can make available to their employees. The site may currently be used by small businesses in 15 states, with more planned to be added in 2017. (As of October, 2016, employers in the following states are able to use the site to shop for and price insurance: AR, CA, FL, IL, IN, KY, MD, MI, NC, OH, PA, TN, VA, WI, WV)

UHC website

Convenience and Control

The site has been designed to be point-and-click simple. Small businesses move through the site one step at a time to:

  • Shop for and compare multiple plans based on the business' location and number of employees
  • Get customized quotes and with prices and rates that take into account employee age ranges and families
  • Purchase plans online

Help is available at every point in the process through helpful links or using a Contact Coverage Advisor button at the tops of screens.

What makes the site unique is how fast and easy it is to find the right plans to offer employees. Instead of spending countless hours looking for a single plan to offer them, a small business can very quickly find two or more plans to let employees choose from. In fact, in some states, they may be able to allow employees to choose from as many as 27 plans.

Using the Site

Finding the right plans to offer workers involves three basic steps on the UnitedHealthCare site:

  1. Select the benefits and a start date
  2. Add employee details to get exact pricing
  3. Set your budget by finding the right balance between what you'll pay and what your employees will pay.

To start the process, click the Get Started Now button and then enter your zip code and press the "Go" button.

On the next screen, you enter the number of employees you'll be covering.

number of employees

Once you've entered the number of employees, you'll be shown a page that lists plans that may fit your business and employees' needs along with the estimated cost of each plan. Your employees will be able to select their plan from the plans you choose in this section. They'll be able customize their coverage based on the options you offer them, whether it be high premium with a low deductible, or lower premiums with higher deductible, different pharmacies, etc.

plans

Using the options on the right side of the screen, you can filter the plans by costs and other options. (Click the Filter By Cost option, for instance, and you'll see options for changing the total premium, your estimated cost, and the deductible. As you adjust any of the sliders, any changes in the estimated price of the plans will be immediately displayed in the list of plans.

Once you've chosen the options to offer employees, you go to a screen where you enter basic information for each employee. You can either enter the details manually or import from Quickbooks or a spreadsheet.

Employee information

When you've completed this section, UnitedHealthcare updates the pricing, replacing the estimated costs with the actual costs. At this point you can create an account and save your results so you can come back later and review them, or you can continue on without creating an account.

You'll be shown your selected plan next and depending on your location, an option to add one or more additional plans to offer employees. When you're finished, you'll be shown a package overview. At this point, if you want to increase the amount you're contributing, you can. You can also see cost broken down by employee by clicking on the Per Employee tab.

plans

When you're finished choosing your contribution and confirm your choices, you will need to create an account to continue. You'll then be able to review your total benefits package, including costs, plan choices and a breakout of the premiums for employees and for you, the employer.

You then proceed to the last step, which is to submit your business and payment information.

The entire process is fast easy to follow. Small businesses that are located in the areas serviced by the UnitedHealthcare site will find it well worth their while to use to shop for health insurance plans to offer their employees. To shop for insurance now, click here.

This article is sponsored by UnitedHealthcare.