Health Insurance Coverage for Small Employers

Ann Frohman, Director of the Nebraska Department of Insurance, recently presented information regarding Health Insurance for small employers at an IRS-sponsored Small Business Forum. Ms. Frohman provided insight to the services rendered by her department, and provided the following tips for small employers who are seeking health insurance for themselves and their employees.

Interview at least 3 or 4 agents. Contact the insurance department to assure they are licensed. Ask them how many insurers offer coverage – it is more than 3 or 4. An answer like that might be a sign of a lack of initiative.

Ask about the Nebraska Small Group Uniform Application. The Uniform Application allows one to more easily compare the same coverage with various companies. If the agents you are interviewing don’t know about the Nebraska Small Group Uniform Application, they might not be well informed.

Compare apples to apples. Make sure each agent is offering information on the same coverage so you can compare pricing.

Understand how pricing works. Age of your workforce, health conditions, size of families of employees participating in coverage are all factors that affect price.

Interview your employees. Find out what their needs are before you sign on the dotted line, and tailor the coverage to those needs.

The Department of Insurance regulates and examines all insurance companies and certain related operations doing business in Nebraska. Regulation includes: agent licensing and examination; foreign insurer admittance; periodic examination of company affairs; automobile, property and liability rate approval; policy form approval; rating and claims practice investigation; and complaints investigations.

The Department also administers the Excess Liability Fund and supervises the Residual Malpractice Insurance Authority, both of which were established by the Hospital-Medical Liability Act of 1976.

The Department of Insurance handles complaints against insurance companies and will investigate any health insurance complaint filed by an individual whose claim has not been handled correctly. They do not accept complaints filed by attorneys.

For more information: contact the Nebraska Department of Insurance; 941 O Street, Suite 400; Lincoln, NE 68508-3690; phone: 402.471.2201; www.doi.ne.gov.