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Part 3: A New Landscape

(Graphic: Ed Fischer)

(Graphic: Ed Fischer)

Gregg_Cherrie--NEW Cherri Gregg
Cherri Gregg is the community affairs reporter for KYW Newsr...
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Regional Affairs Council -- June 2012

KYW Regional Affairs Council

“The Small Business

Healthcare Headache”

.

By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — If you own a small business and you want to provide health care coverage for yourself or your employees, you may be wondering where to start.   We spoke to a few experts to help you sort through all the jargon.

If the terms HMO, PPO, PCP, HSA, and POS have you scratching your head, there are resources that can help sort through all the health care mumbo-jumbo.

“Health insurance is tricky and it’s confusing, so having the right, unbiased information is a key resource for consumers,” notes Melissa Fox, spokeswoman for Pennsylvania’s Insurance Department.

She says the Commonwealth has a web site that provides employers with the basics of the key issues.

“As simple as defining what an HMO is, or many of the acronyms that insurance uses, all the way up to letting folks know what’s happening now with regard to federal health and health insurance exchanges.”

Another option when wading through the insurance waters is hiring an insurance broker who can compare prices, offerings, and services, and tell you about the latest trends.

Or, savvy business owners can go directly to a provider.

mayfield brett ibx thumb  gregg Part 3:  A New Landscape

(Brett Mayfield. Credit: Cherri Gregg)

“What we try to do is make a package of products that give a wide enough price range,” says Brett Mayfield (right), who works for Independence Blue Cross, which provides coverage for more than two million people in the region.

Mayfield says the group began offering cheaper plans for small businesses last year.

“Prices depend on how big your deductible is on the front end,” he explains.  “It can be a couple of hundred dollars for a single (person), up to $600 for a single.  It can vary quite greatly.”

A possible future option in Pennsylvania is a health care “exchange,” an online marketplace where business owners can go to evaluate prices for health insurance. Even though Gov. Tom Corbett last November indicated his support for a measure setting up an exchange, Insurance Department spokeswoman Fox says there’s still uncertainty.

“We’re in a holding pattern right now to see if legislation will be passed, in addition to what the (US) Supreme Court will decide.”

For more information on the status of health care exchanges in Pennsylvania, go to www.pahealthoptions.com.
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Listen to the Part 3 podcast…