Iowa 2017 Open Enrollment Guide for Small Businesses

Iowa open enrollment in 2017 runs from November 1 to December 15. During this time, if you and your employees are signing up for individual health plans, you can go to a site like healthcare.gov, browse available plans in Iowa, and sign up for a plan that meets your needs. Coverage for plans selected during this time begins on January 1, 2018 and ends on December 31, 2018.

If you're like many of the small businesses we talk to everyday, you may be wondering if you should direct your employees to healthcare.gov to sign up for their own, individual plan or if you should offer a group health insurance plan.

Here are some reasons why enrolling in a small business health insurance plan instead of sending your employees to the individual exchange is a better idea:

  1. More plan options. Using a group insurance broker like SimplyInsured instead of going to the individual exchange in Iowa, you can access 31 more plans from 1 more carrier. See below for a summary of the number of plan offerings by carrier:

    Number of Plans Offered by Carrier in Iowa, SimplyInsured vs. Individual Exchange

    UnitedHealthcare Medica Total
    SimplyInsured - Small Group 36 0 36
    Individual Exchange 0 5 5

    If you choose to offer a small group plan, there's a higher likelihood of finding a plan that meets your needs.

  2. Better access to PPO and POS plans. Small group plan offerings include 24 more PPO and POS options, which provide wider, more flexible doctor and hospital networks and the ability to see specialists without needing referrals from primary care physicians. See below of a summary of the number of plans offered by network type for group versus individual plans:

    Number of Plans Offered by Plan Type in Iowa, SimplyInsured vs. Individual Exchange

    HMO PPO/POS Other Total
    SimplyInsured - Small Group 0 29 7 36
    Individual Exchange 0 5 0 5

    If you're looking for richer plan options, small business health insurance is the way to go.

  3. Lower rates. With more variety in plan options comes wider variety in costs and a better chance that you'll find a plan that comfortably fits into your budget. The cheapest plan available to small businesses in Iowa costs $241 per month for one 30-year-old, while the cheapest plan available to individuals without subsidies costs $483 per month. The cheapest PPO/POS plan available to small businesses in Iowa costs $277 per month for one 30-year-old, while the cheapest PPO/POS plan available on the individual market costs $483 per month.

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  4. Tax benefits. Small business plans are tax deductible in all cases, which reduces the cost of coverage by the business tax rate (typically 25-35%). Individual plans may offer subsidies that reduce the cost, but only if employees' income is less than $48,000. Read more about the tax benefits here.
  5. Ability to lock in 2017 rates. As long as you sign up before November 30, 2017, you can lock in December 2017 small business health insurance rates and keep these rates until December 2018. We expect rates to increase 7-10% for group plans in Iowa starting January 2018. There is no penalty if you cancel your existing small business health plan by December 1, 2017 and enroll in a better matching, potentially cheaper plan. 2017 rates are no longer available on the individual market!

Ready to start looking for a small group plan? Get an instant quote and complete the application today!

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