Figuring out how one small employer health plan stacks up against another involves more than just calculating premiums and deductibles. You need to look at the whole picture, from network size, hospital access, and unique benefits, to really understand the value of a plan. To make that a little easier, we created a free chart to help you with your own Massachusetts health plan comparisons.
Keep reading to learn about how we created the document, how to use it, and what benefits we included in the comparison.
Creating the plan comparison
As anyone who has shopped for health plans knows, drawing direct comparisons between different carriers is extremely difficult. So, how did we do it for our chart? First, we narrowed the field down to some of the top small employer health plans in the Massachusetts market. To do that, we looked at publicly available data and member materials.
Once we found the plans with the highest membership, we sorted them by metallic tier. These tiers—platinum, gold, silver, or bronze—are based on how the member or the plan splits health care costs. Platinum plans have the highest premiums with lowest member cost sharing while bronze plans cost less per month but have higher cost sharing when a member receives care.
AllWays Health Partners 2019 plan comparison preview
Ways to use this chart
If you don’t see a plan you’re looking for in the chart, you’re free to add rows for the plans you’re trying to compare and fill in the blanks. You can also add columns if you’re interested in health plan benefits or programs that aren’t included. After all, this is just a sample of plans, and there’s no simple way to compare every plan and benefit out there. But, we hope it will be a useful tool when it comes to helping your employer partners assess the value of a given plan beyond just premiums and cost sharing.
You can also use this chart to:
- Create a baseline for your own comparisons.
- Share key small employer health plan differences with your clients.
- Decide with your clients how premium, network access, and benefits come together to determine the total value of a plan.
Don’t worry about comparing outdated information, either. We’ll periodically update this document as the market changes.
Understanding the included benefits
The first benefits on everyone’s mind are the all about the numbers, so that’s where we started. Being able to directly compare deductibles and copayments for different services already isn’t easy, so we included them right up front. While there are still some differences in the way that different carriers describe their cost sharing, having this information all in one place should make that analysis a much simpler task.
Then we got into the perks and other features. This is where employers have the opportunity to offer something extra, like a workplace wellness program to help their employees live healthier lifestyles. If you’re interested in fitness and weight loss benefits, you can find those offerings here. While these might be small factors in an employer’s overall decision, they can have a big impact on individual wellness and employee satisfaction.
Many health plans are also offering other unique features focused on improving access to care through reduced member cost sharing for certain services. These perks are worth looking into for any employer, but they can be especially impactful for small group employers who may be familiar with their employees’ medical needs. If one plan offers significant discounts or has no cost sharing for a service or medication that one or more of their employees frequently need, that can go a long way toward fostering loyalty and boosting morale.
Ready to start comparing? Download your own copy by visiting our Massachusetts health plan comparison page. Keep an eye out for the next version of the plan compare document, where we’ll update the benefits for 2020!