Group Health Insurance is a policy that is purchased by an employer for their employees (and sometimes their families) as a benefit for working at their company. Here in California, a Small Group consists of at least 2-50 employees. Unfortunately, people who are self employed or sole proprietors do not qualify. These individuals will need to seek an affordable Individual Health Insurance. policy.
Group Health Insurance policies are offered by private insurance carriers. The policies and rates are issued based on many different factors such as the nature of the business or the number of employees just to name a few. And although insurance is regulated at the state level, Federal law states that Group Health Insurance cannot turn down an individual for having a pre-existing condition. This mandate is known in the insurance industry as Guaranteed Issue.
Benefits of Group Health
Statistics showed that in 2011 most Americans had Health Insurance through their employers. While some employers offer only one health insurance plan, others offer a choice of plans, for example, fee-for-service plans, HMO plans, or PPO plans. For some individuals, Group Health is the only way for them to have guaranteed insurance due to pregnancy or other pre-existing medical conditions. In most cases, employers will pay for (in full or a portion of) the monthly premiums for at least their employees (spouses and family are optional).
If at any point you lose your benefits due to a job change, job loss or divorce or any other reason you can still continue your Group health coverage under the federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 better known as COBRA. Under COBRA, one can maintain their insurance benefits for up to 18 months at a premium monthly rate in most cases. In addition, Cal-COBRA is a California law that is like Federal COBRA which applies to Group Health plans that covers groups from 2 to 19 employees. It lets you keep your insurance for up to a total of 36 months.