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Medical expenses can quickly add up, and most people are unable to pay for health care out of pocket. In order to defray these costs, people purchase health insurance. There are two primary venues for health insurance: individual policies and group policies. Although individual policies are gaining in popularity, group health is by far the most popular and common way for individuals to obtain insurance.

How Does Group Health Insurance Work?

A group health policy is purchased in bulk from an insurance provider. The purchaser is usually an employer, and the group policy covers all employees at that company. Individual employees will pay premiums as a way to reimburse the employer for the cost of coverage; these premiums are usually much cheaper than they would be if the employee bought an individual policy for himself.

Current legislation requires all employers to provide some form of health insurance to employees. This means that many employers are searching for the best deal on policies, creating a very competitive market. Many employers purchase two or three types of policies that can be chosen by employees through a cafeteria plan, while others prefer to purchase only one set of coverages that will apply to all employees who choose to participate.

What Are the Benefits of Group Health Coverage?

Buying insurance this way allows for risk to be spread evenly over a large group of people; even if some employees must use their insurance in one year, many more will pay premiums that year without requiring any insurance services. Spreading the risk allows the insurance company to keep premiums low. It also allows individuals to obtain insurance even if they would not qualify for an individual policy.

For example, some individual policies will require the insured to pass a physical exam before coverage can be applied. In other cases, people with pre-existing medical conditions cannot get an individual insurance policy, or can only get one for a heavy cost. Group health plans do not have these restrictions, making them an affordable health care option for people who are employed.

Not everyone will choose to enroll in their employer’s group health plan. Some people prefer the flexibility of another insurer, and some individuals would rather save money by avoiding insurance altogether and taking the risk of being uninsured. Most employees, however, will opt for group insurance, so it’s important for any employer to provide affordable options to the employees.

Where to Purchase Group Health Coverage?

If you are a business owner, you will want to purchase an affordable health care plan for your employees. The best way to find the best company to suit your needs is by comparison shopping online. You can generally filter these results by price, coverage or other criteria that will help narrow down the search to plans that will suit your needs.

Insurance 101 Library

Download helpful articles on various Health and Life Insurance topics by clicking on the titles below:

What is Health Insurance
Health insurance is one type of insurance you’re pretty much guaranteed to use. We all need medical attention from time to time, and some of us need it quite frequently When care is needed, you want to focus on getting better not on how you’re going to come up with the money to pay your medical bills. A good health insurance plan allows you to focus on what’s most important, your physical well‐being.
(PDF; 138K)

What is Term Life Insurance
As the name implies, term insurance provides protection for a specific period of time and generally pays a benefit only if you die during the "term." Term periods typically range from one year to 30 years, with 20 years being the most common term. One of the biggest advantages of term insurance is its lower initial cost in comparison to permanent insurance.
(PDF; 131K)

Who Needs Life Insurance?
If someone will suffer financially when you die, chances are you need life insurance. Life insurance provides cash to your family after your death. This cash (known as the death benefit) replaces your income and can help your family meet many important financial needs. (PDF; 127K)

How Much Life Insurance Do I Need?
Life insurance provides cash to your family after your death. This cash (known as the death benefit) replaces your income and can help your family meet many important financial needs like funeral costs, daily living expenses and college funding.
(PDF; 125K)

Second to Die Rider
An exciting concept in the area of life insurance products for estate planning needs is the Second to Die rider offered by a number of carriers. It is a concept that is simple by nature, yet provides tremendous planning capabilities. The Second to Die rider is generally attached to a permanent life insurance policy.
(PDF; 112K)

Survivorship Life Provisions
Financial advisors are often asked to prepare analyses or make recommendations concerning life insurance as an estate conservation tool. In many cases, the client’s team of advisors including a tax attorney, accountant and insurance agent will recommend the use of a "survivorship life" or "second to die" contract. (PDF; 142K)