Small businesses that buy their group health coverage through the web may have much tighter benefits budgets than businesses that buy their coverage through brokers.
A Mountain View, California-based web broker, eHealth Inc., raised that possibility today in a new report on its group health customers’ coverage purchases.
The company came up with cost data for its group health customers by analyzed the purchases of about 500 small employers that bought major medical coverage for 2016 through eHealth.
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The typical eHealth group health customer was very small: It had an average of just three covered employees and two dependents.
The average premium total for those customers was just $1,432 per month for all covered lives, or $286 per month per covered life.
The eHealth analysts did not say whether the coverage plan purchased was a bare-bones bronze-level plan, a rich platinum-level plan, or something in between, but the average deductible was just $2,306.
For 2016, eHealth had at least 25 new-sold groups and a total of at least 100 newly covered group health lives in nine states.
In the nine states in which eHealth had a significant amount of group health market business, the average monthly premium per covered life ranged from $170 in Arizona to $355 in New York.
A comparison of the eHealth group health data with group health broker survey data collected earlier this year by United Benefit Advisors suggests that employers who buy their health benefits online are different from traditional small-group benefits customers.
United Beneft Advisors is an Indianapolis-based consortium that represents about 2,000 independent benefits brokers and consultants.
The plans included in the United Beneft Advisors survey covered an average of 250 people each in 2016, and employers were paying an average of about $500 per month in premiums for employee-only coverage. The median employee-only deductible was $1,500.
At eHealth itself, analysts reported in October that online purchasers of individual coverage have been paying an average of $321 per month in premiums. The per-life premium for eHealth’s group health customers is about 11 percent than the average premium for individual coverage.
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