Blue Shield of California Group Health Insurance

Based in San Francisco, Blue Shield of California has been issuing health insurance to Californians since 1939. Nowadays, Blue Shield of California is one of the two provider organizations that offers coverage plans to all ZIP codes and counties in the Golden State. With over four million members, what compels so many California residents to choose Blue Shield for their California group health insurance coverage?

For starters, the Blue Shield boasts that they are committed to delivering each and every Californian with quality care, inclusive benefits, and plans, all at affordable rates. However, there is much more to Blue Shield of California than that. Let’s dive in to understand what this provider can offer you in terms of group health insurance.

What is Group Health Insurance?

Before we continue any further, it is absolutely crucial that you understand what group health insurance, or a group health insurance plan, is. Put simply, group health insurance is a form of medical coverage that is designed for employees of a company or members of an organization. In most cases, a group health plan provides coverage to its members at a lower cost, as the risk to the insurers is distributed across all the members.

These plans help both you, as the business owner, and your employees pay for their health care expenses. However, these types of plans can only be purchased by a group, meaning individuals are not eligible to get coverage through these plans. In most cases, 70% participation by the group members is required in order for a group plan to be valid.

When an organization or employer chooses a plan, the members of the group have the option to accept or decline insurance coverage. In particular areas, plans are issued in tiers, which gives insure parties the choice between basic coverage or more advanced options with add-ons. Overall, group health insurance is specifically designed to be more cost-effective for companies. When compared to individual plans, the premiums are generally less with group health insurance, as more people are buying into the plan.

Blue Shield of California Plans by Business Size

The Blue Shield of California mission to guarantee that all California residents have access to high-quality health care at reasonable prices. When you choose them for your group health insurance, your employees enjoy access to a wide range of physicians, hospitals, pharmacies, vision and dental experts, and additional providers.

Businesses that have one or more employees are eligible to purchase group health insurance through Blue Shield of California. They offer options to businesses of all sizes and their group health insurance plans are broken down based on the size of the business, which are as follows.

Small Business Insurance Plans (1 to 100 employees)

For small businesses, small business health insurance is a crucial component in both attracting and retaining employees. It also helps maintain employee satisfaction and productivity on a daily basis. Blue Shield of California offers two unique packages for small businesses, intended to help your small business support your employees’ health and wellbeing, but save money at the same time. 

Simply select your preferred package and then choose plans within that package to fit the needs of your employees. The two packages Blue Shield of California offers to small businesses (1 to 100 employees) are as follows:

Off-Exchange Package

This is Blue Shield of California’s flagship package, the Off-Exchange Package for Small Business consist of a wide array of healthcare options that include HMO, PPO, and HSA compatible HDHP plans. With this package, small businesses have access to over 60 plan options. However, the off-exchange package is not available for purchase on the Covered California for Small Business (CCSB) online marketplace.

Instead, you must go through a broker to purchase these plans. Plans from the Off-Exchange Package may be sold individually, but cannot be combined with plans from other Blue Shield packages.

 Mirror Package

The second option offered for small businesses by Blue Shield of California, the Mirror Package lets customers to purchase the same plans that they offer through the Covered California for Small Business marketplace (CCSB). It’s important to note, though, that the plans from this package can be sold individually, but cannot be paired with plans for a different package.

To enroll in this package, the process is simple:

  1. Choose one of more of plans that offer your ideal level of coverage.
  2. Select the monthly employer contribution option – either 50% of total employee rates or $100 per employee enrolled.

Mid/ Large Group Insurance Plans (101+ employees)

As an employer, your greatest investment is your employees. For this reason, it is very important to offer health insurance to both recruit and retain top talent. Choosing the right plan to offer their employees is often one of the most significant decisions employers make. After all, keeping your employees healthy and happy will benefit you long term.

For mid to large group employers (101+ employees), Blue Shield of California has a range of managed care plans. You are also given the flexibility to customize benefits and financial measures to meet distinct needs. The packages that Blue Shield of California offers to mid/ large group employers are as follows:

  • Trio HMO Plans: With these plans, Blue Shield of California works with the medical group and hospital to provide combined care in a patient-centered atmosphere. They are designed to help reduce unnecessary healthcare costs, decrease duplication of services, and boost care coordination.
  • Access+ HMO Plans: These plans offer Blue Shield of California’s widest array of benefits that include emergency care, both inpatient and outpatient care, and general preventative services, all with low copayments
  • Local Access+ HMO Plans: These plans are specially intended for employers who are seeking to keep their health care spending low, without compromising comprehensive benefits for their employees.
  • Access+ HMO SaveNet Plans: With these plans, you get an HMO plan with a targeted physician network, which keeps rates low. However, they must be paired with one of Blue Cross of California’s standard Access+ HMO plans.
  • PPO Plans: With Blue Cross of California’s PPO plans, your employees receive direct access to the physicians and specialists in their preferred provider network, with the additional option of going outside of network, as desired.
  • Tandem PPO Plans: These plans provide a select quality network of providers, each of which have the same benefits as Blue Cross of California’s PPO plans, but at a more affordable rate.
  • Active Choice PPO Plans: Blue Cross of California’s Active Choice PPO plans deliver comprehensive coverage with flexibility and improved management over spending. They also deliver reliable defense against the effect of high-cost services.
  • Added Advantage POS Plans: These plans are ideal for employers who desire the flexibility of an HMO, but the benefits of a PPO. They combine the access to Blue Cross of California’s massive PPO network, with the accessibility and out-of-pocket costs of HMO.
  • PPO Savings Plans: Blue Cross of California’s PPO Savings plans are high-deductible health plans, or HDHPs. They are most suited for employees who prefer to be actively in control of their healthcare expenses by saving up tax-advantaged money to be used for future medical needs.

Have more questions about group health insurance and what plans Blue Shield of California can offer your business? You’ve come to the right place.

Whether you are located in Bay Area California or anywhere else in the United States, the brokers at Taylor Benefits Insurance Agency can explain the plans available to you, break down all the little details, and help you choose the ideal Blue Shield of California group health insurance plan for both your company and your employees.

So, what are you waiting for? Don’t hesitate – contact us now to get started.

Written by Todd Taylor

Todd Taylor

Todd Taylor oversees most of the marketing and client administration for the agency with help of an incredible team. Todd is a seasoned benefits insurance broker with over 35 years of industry experience. As the Founder and CEO of Taylor Benefits Insurance Agency, Inc., he provides strategic consultations and high-quality support to ensure his clients’ competitive position in the market.

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