Many WSDA members use Washington Dentists’ Insurance Agency (WDIA) to purchase individual products such as disability, malpractice, and life to insure their livelihood, but did you know that WDIA can also help you apply for and navigate group medical coverage?
Many WSDA members use Washington Dentists’ Insurance Agency (WDIA) to purchase individual products such as disability, malpractice, and life to insure their livelihood, but did you know that WDIA can also help you apply for and navigate group medical coverage? Consider taking advantage of our one-on-one customer service to navigate the complexity of group medical insurance, one of the many benefits WDIA provides at no cost to members.
Why Group Medical
There are many advantages associated with offering a group medical policy:
- Attract and Retain Staff: Providing a group plan for your office is a great way to attract and retain quality staff. Your staff will appreciate not having to apply for new individual coverage every year. Most carriers will allow employers to defer up to 50% of the premium cost to employees (depending on group size), which for many employees is lower in cost than an individual plan.
- Easy to Customize: Carriers offer plans with varied networks, deductibles, and out-of-pocket maximums. WDIA’s medical insurance specialist can help identify a plan that matches your needs and fits your budget. Our carriers also allow you to offer multiple plan options, so your employees can decide which plan is right for them.
- Broader Networks: Group medical coverage offers broader provider networks and more plan options than individual coverage. Individual medical plans often limit network size, which means that there are fewer in-network provider options and few out-of-network or out-of-state care options. The group medical carriers that WDIA works with offer PPO networks, which have a broad network of contracted providers. Members receive lower contracted provider rates and typically do not need a referral from a primary care provider before seeing a specialist. Carriers also offer out-of-network coverage for providers who are not part of the PPO network and will cover care while outside of Washington state.
- Tax Savings: Using a Section 125 Premium Only Plan (POP) tax document, you and your employees can pay for group medical policy premiums pre-tax. This reduces payroll taxes for both the employer and employees and maximizes employee earnings. WDIA has partnered with a third-party administrator to help our groups establish and maintain their Section 125 POP documents.
Set Up a Group Plan
Contact WDIA Medical Insurance Specialist Emily Wilkinson today at (206) 973-5212 or at firstname.lastname@example.org to start the quoting process for your office.
Q&A with WDIA Medical Insurance Specialist Emily Wilkinson
Last June, the WDIA team said goodbye to Medical Insurance Specialist Paddy Moran, who provided members and their teams medical insurance support for the past five years. Paddy and his wife have moved to the Netherlands, where his wife is pursuing her Master of Art. Last spring, WDIA welcomed Emily Wilkinson as our new medical insurance specialist. Emily previously worked as a production coordinator for WDIA and is well-suited for this role.
What constitutes a group?
Small group medical policies can have as few as one employee enrolled. All groups must enroll at least one W-2 earning employee who is not the business owner or spouse of the owner. Coverage must be offered to all eligible employees. You can define policy eligibility based on hours worked and your probationary period. WDIA’s medical insurance specialist can assist with setting eligibility requirements that fit your office needs. Depending on how you set the requirements, you have some control as to who is eligible for the policy.
How are group medical rates determined?
Small group medical policy rates are directly tied to the ages of those who are applying. Groups with a younger average age will have lower total monthly rates than those with an older average age. Contrary to what some employers expect, there is no “bulk discount” wherein you save by having a certain number of people enrolled. The per-person rates will be the same whether you have two employees or fifteen employees enrolled.
When are the enrollment times for group medical plans? Is there a best time to enroll?
You can start a group medical plan as of the first of any month of the year. For a quicker turnaround time WDIA suggests applying anywhere between March and August
How long does it take to set up a group medical plan for my office?
The group medical application process usually starts anywhere from three to six weeks prior to an office’s requested start date. This process includes a conversation with WDIA’s medical insurance specialist about benefit options that usually takes 15-30 minutes, followed by a call to complete paperwork that can be done in 30-45 minutes.
What makes WDIA’s customer service stand out from other agencies?
We provide a top-to-bottom customer service experience. We review quotes and benefit options, help with the onboarding and paperwork process, provide policy service throughout the year for things such as enrollment changes, employee questions and concerns, and are always here to assist with understanding billing and claims. We also conduct a thorough annual renewal process which includes an analysis and review of your plan’s renewal benefits and rates as well as a deep dive into alternative renewal options if desired. Your best interest is our top priority.
WDIA, wholly owned by WSDA, helps dentists simplify the process of selecting the right insurance at a reasonable price and is the only insurance agency that is specifically geared to meet the needs of Washington dentists, their families, and their staff. Visit www.wdiains.com or call (800) 282-9342 to learn more.