Advisers work with business owners to devise employee health insurance benefit packages on a self-insured chassis in order to drive transparency among claims, vendors and data, said Bryce Heinbaugh, a managing member of IEN Risk Management. Then IEN Risk Management negotiates with providers to accept substantially lower fees than are paid via Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Aetna and other major insurers.
“It was about seven years ago that I decided to look for a better option,” said Huang. “At that time we had a plan that cost a family of four $1,400 [a month]. I just believed that was too much to spend.”
When Great Lakes adopted a self-funded plan in 2012, an employee’s cost for family coverage dropped to $800 per month. Today, it costs $980. Coverage, deductibles and co-pays have remained unchanged, Heinbaugh said.
The first year the plan was in place, there was a $138,000 surplus in payments. Huang returned the money to employees by letting them skip paying their premium for a month.
Employees can choose from two medical coverage options and add dental, vision, short-term and long-term disability, voluntary life insurance, accident and catastrophic coverage.