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1/25/2019 10:54:00 AM
One Southern Indiana introduces association health plan for members

Brooke McAfee, News and Tribune

SOUTHERN INDIANA — A new health insurance plan aims to expand affordable benefit options for a wide range of Southern Indiana businesses, from individual entrepreneurs to large corporations.

One Southern Indiana (1si) is preparing to unroll a member program called Insurance Under ONE, a health plan that will offer employers of all sizes a large association group rate. The program will be available starting March 1 for all 1si members.

1si is partnering with the Southern Indiana Health Organization (SIHO), Baptist Health and Norton Healthcare (including Clark Memorial Health) to provide networks of local and regional providers, which depend on the policies chosen. 

Employers can choose from six Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) health insurance options, two Health Savings Account (HSA) plans and wellness benefits such as screenings and flu shots. The deductible plans range from $2,000 to $6,500, according to Traci Wright, SIHO Insurance Services vice-president of sales and account management.

"They align nicely to the market and the competition in the market for small employers, and as an association, this will be pooled together so that we can offer affordable, sustainable rates to small employers," she said.

1si will also continue to offer discounted ancillary insurance such as dental, vision, pet, short and long-term disability, along with Premium Only Plan (POP) benefits.

Employers can choose Baptist Health's network of 1,300 providers, Norton Healthcare's network of 1,600 providers or a combination of both for a network of 2,900 providers, according to 1si board member Jason Lopp.

The plan offers competitive rates with no medical underwriting for companies of one to 50 employees, according to 1si President and CEO Wendy Dant Chesser. She said since health insurance is one of the most important factors in job satisfaction, she expects Insurance Under ONE to help employers attract and retain employees, particularly with the rising costs of healthcare.

"We’re not only taking care of for the workforce of today, but the workforce of tomorrow as well," she said.

The large group rates offered in Insurance Under ONE are typically only available to companies with 50 or more employees, Lopp said. Even self-employed 1si members will be able to use Insurance Under ONE.

"Before, it was difficult for a single member to find insurance," he said. "This allows a single member LLC or a single member organization to actually get healthcare without going through underwriting because they’re looked at as a member of a very large group. I think that’s a great benefit to some of our local mom and pop shops that may just have one person running the whole thing."

He said there will be flexibility in the choice of benefit plans.

"1si endeavored to find a health association plan with reasonable rates for the self-employed entrepreneur, the small shop with 10 employees, a growing construction company or a dental office with 65 employees," he said. "This is not a discount program — this is a full-blown, real health plan with a variety of options."

Baptist Health Floyd President Dr. Daniel Eichenberger, who is also a 1si board member, said he is excited to provide affordable, quality health insurance to Southern Indiana employees.

"Baptist Health believes this partnership enhances our community’s ability to attract businesses and to improve both quality of life and quality of play for employees and their families," he said. "These are exciting times for small businesses in Southern Indiana, and because of One Southern Indiana’s engagement in economic development, employees will no longer have to go without health insurance."

1si estimates that Insurance Under ONE could cover as many as 170,000 people in the region. Any insurance agent who is a member of 1si will also be able to market and sell the plan. 

While all eight PPO and HSA plans are available to 1si companies who have been a member for more than a year, those who have been a member for less than a year will have limited options at first.

1si member Miguel Hampton, owner of a creative marketing business called F5 Enterprises, LLC, said he expects the health plan to benefit him as a small business owner with two employees.

He said he and his wife have always had private plans or flexible benefits plans, and he believes Insurance Under ONE will be a better option.

"It’s more competitive than some of the things we’ve started looking at, and it’s less expensive than some things we’ve carried in the past," he said. "Insurance is really expensive. We’ve paid anywhere from $1,200 to $1,800 a month for years."

Hampton is also looking into hiring another employee at F5, he said, and he expects the new plan to be an important factor in decision-making.

Dant Chesser said Insurance Under ONE could lead to economic growth in Southern Indiana.

"We recognize from an economic development standpoint that if we have good quality, affordable healthcare in our communities, that makes us more attractive for growth of new companies and growth of existing companies as well," she said. "So when we start working on programs that help existing companies, we also know that it’s helping our community longterm."

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