What Is Group Insurance?
Group insurance is a coverage policy offered to a select group of individuals, such as employees of a corporation or company. With group policies, an entity offers all of its members the opportunity to obtain the insurance coverage. Sometimes the group plan is entirely paid for and included as part of the employee’s compensation package whereas other times the insured must reserve a certain amount of their paycheck each month to put towards coverage.
Types of Group Insurance
The two main types of group policies are group health insurance and group life insurance:
- Group Health Insurance: Group health insurance is a policy obtained by a company/organization on behalf of its employees/members. The insurance plan covers the medical needs of the group members and offers an affordable way to obtain healthcare coverage that is often less expensive than individual policy coverage.
- Group Life Insurance: Group life insurance provides life insurance options to group members and offers easy-to-qualify coverage that is often provided as part of a compensation package to employees.
What Does Group Insurance Cover?
Depending on the type of group policy obtained, health or life, your coverage will consist of taking care of your medical or life insurance needs. Group health insurance will cover the members medical bills, ranging from doctor’s visits to hospitalizations and more, while group life insurance will provide a payout to beneficiaries upon the death of the insured member.
The exact coverage inclusions will depend on the policy obtained but the general aspects of group health insurance and group life insurance is to provide insurance protection to cover the multi-faceted needs of the group members.
How Does Group Coverage Work?
Group plans can work in a number of ways. For group health insurance plans, the employer may pay a specific annual premium under fully-insured plans or pay according to claims under self-funded plans. Other options include a monthly premium paid by the employer to support the insurance coverage of the group members.
Also, some group health insurance plans will be paid fully by the employer. In the alternative, some employers will request that the employees pay a certain portion of the premium in order to receive the health insurance coverage. In addition, with group health insurance plans, some employers may allow the employees to include their family members on the insurance plan and pay a certain amount each month to do so. The options available with group health insurance plans are wide and varied.
As for group life insurance, the employer pays for its employees to be covered and beneficiaries to receive payment should the employee pass away. This type of life insurance is often term life insurance and is only available while the employee is with the employer’s company. Should the employee leave the company, the life insurance policy will cease to exist.
Why Is Group Insurance Important?
Group health insurance and group life insurance are coverage policies that are important to have in place. With a group plan, you have access to affordable coverage that most likely contains expansive offerings. Whether you have to pay for the plan partially out-of-pocket or your health insurance and life insurance is entirely covered by your employer as part of your benefits package, the end result is a reasonably-priced insurance policy that will protect you and oftentimes your family as well.
The Benefits of Group Plans
You’ll find many benefits attached to group policies. From little or no payment needed by the members to top-notch coverage provided to the group, insurance policies that cover groups are quite attractive options.
Some of the excellent benefits you’ll find associated with group plans include the following:
- Extremely affordable or no cost insurance coverage
- Extensive coverage
- Don’t have to shop around for insurance plans
- Can sometimes provide benefits for family members
- Little paperwork to fill out
- Little or no waiting period for coverage to begin
Group plans are well-researched by company officials who want the best and most cost-effective coverage plans for their employees. The companies handle the research and take the guess-work out of selecting a health insurance policy or life insurance policy. Frequently these insurance coverage plans will also have plenty of options included with them so that you can choose the coverage option that works best for your individual health insurance or life insurance needs.
Is It Better to Obtain Group Coverage or an Individual Policy?
When the time comes to make the decision as to a group plan or an individual insurance policy, you should look at a few different factors. First, what plan is more inclusive? Also, what insurance coverage package will provide you with the most cost-efficient way to secure insurance protection? In addition, if you have family members you are trying to add to the plan, are you able to do so with a group plan or do you have to obtain an individual insurance policy in order to have your family protected as well?
Deciding whether to go with a group plan or individual insurance policy takes a case-by-case analysis to come up with the right answer. Look at what the company is offering in the way of their group package and see if that fits your needs or if it’s better to go with an individual insurance policy that you shop around for on your own.
Questions to Ask About the Group Plan
Before you sign up for a group plan with your employer, you should ask the following questions of the company representative handling insurance policy distribution:
- Is there any cost to join the group plan?
- What is the level of coverage included in the plan?
- Can family members join in on the coverage?
- Is there any waiting period for the coverage to take effect?
- Can members choose their own healthcare providers?
- What doesn’t the group plan cover?
Overall, group coverage provides an excellent way to cover healthcare expenses, offer life insurance policies and more.