Group health insurance is typically offered by employers. Or, if you are a member of a union, professional association, or other group, you may be able to get group coverage through that organization.
Some employers allow employees to choose between several plans, including both indemnity insurance and managed care. Other employers offer only one plan. Some group plans offer dental and/or vision benefits as well as medical benefits. So it is important to compare plans to find the one that offers the benefits you need most. Once you enroll in a health insurance plan, you usually cannot change to another plan until the next open season, usually set once a year.
When group health insurance is an employee benefit, your employer usually pays a portion or all of the premiums. This means your costs for health insurance premiums May be lower than they would be if you paid the entire premium alone. We find that our premiums usually beat group plan premiums!
When you get group insurance through membership in an organization, you usually will benefit from being a member of a large group. You may pay less for premiums than an individual would pay. However, the organization often does not pay a share of the premium, meaning you may be responsible for paying the entire premium yourself.
Health reimbursement arrangements may be established by employers to pay employees' medical expenses. A health reimbursement arrangement must be set up by an employer on behalf of its employees, and only the employer can contribute to it. The employer decides how much money to put in a health reimbursement arrangement, and the employee can withdraw funds from the account to cover allowed expenses. Health reimbursement arrangements often are established in conjunction with a high-deductible health plan, but they can be paired with any type of health plan or used as a stand-alone account.
Federal law allows employers to determine whether employees can carry over all or a portion of unspent funds from year to year. Also, employers can decide whether account balances will be forfeited if an employee leaves the job or changes health plans.
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