Insurance from a Distance: Can You Offer Healthcare to Employees in Different States?

Thanks to modern technology, anywhere can be an office or a workspace, and you can have meetings with people you’ve never actually met in person. You might employ people in different parts of the country, and your only contact with them might be through email and Zoom, but they are still part of your team, and should be treated as such. Offering healthcare to your employees – wherever they are – is a great way to show you value them. It is also a way to attract the best candidates for your remote positions. Figuring out a group health plan can be hard enough, but adding employees from different states into the mix can make it feel impossible. But there are ways to make it happen!

Why Offer a Healthcare Plan and Where to Startpersons hand on a laptop keyboard with zoom screen of people

If you’re running a small business with a handful of employees working remotely, you might be questioning whether it’s worth it to even look into a group healthcare plan. Rest assured, it is worth it. There are multiple studies that show that offering healthcare boosts retention rates, employee satisfaction, and productivity.

If you’re looking to find – and keep – the right people for your remote positions, then consider what employees told a Willis Towers Watson study. 45% said that their employers’ healthcare benefits were a reason they chose their job, and 55% said their healthcare benefits were a reason they stayed at their job. 

Everyone loves to have days off, but it turns out that employees love not having to worry about huge medical bills even more. According to a survey done by Glassdoor, 40% of employees chose healthcare as their number one most desired benefit, edging out more vacation time and performance bonuses. Glassdoor also found that having healthcare increased employees’ satisfaction with their jobs more than did perks like extra vacation time, retirement benefits, or even parental leave. And remember, satisfied (and healthy!) employees are more present and productive when they’re working. 

It is important to note that you can’t just throw any old cookie-cutter plan at your employees, especially those who are working remotely and who you don’t know very well. Studies have shown that 80% of employees say that having health benefits customized to meet their needs is important to them. So the best way to start when looking to cover your far-off employees is to simply ask them what they want. Anonymous health surveys are great for finding out about employees that you don’t know well; include questions about how much coverage they want/need, whether they have dependents they want covered, etc. 

The Obstacles 

womans hands counting money at a table with a pen and notebook in front of her.
Your employees might want to choose their own plans, but have you help out with costs.

So the benefits of offering healthcare to employees are clear, but if they’re in different states, it’s not necessarily an easy thing to do. There are some obstacles that might limit your options. For example:

  • Some insurance companies won’t cover out-of-state employees. Others might, but will require a majority of the employees to be located in the same state.
  • Your state might have specific insurance requirements that make it difficult for you to find an insurance company (which are regulated at the state level) that can offer the same plan to all of your employees.
  • Your employees might want to choose their own plans, but have you help out with costs.
  • If you qualify for an ACA SHOP plan, you may be put off by the process of getting plans in multiple states. 

Don’t get discouraged by these difficulties! It can be done, and we can take you through the ways that you can successfully navigate the process of choosing coverage.

Your Options

Covering out-of-state employees basically boils down to four options, all of which have their pros and cons.

1. Separate state plans – You can actually offer different plans to different employees in different states, which would allow everyone to get the right plan for them. If you qualify for an ACA SHOP marketplace, there is an option to choose a plan that operates in different states, and you might be able to qualify for the small business healthcare tax credit

On the downside, though, if you decide to offer different plans to different employees, you might find the whole process of choosing and managing separate plans overwhelming. In addition, if you go through SHOP and your state has its own exchange, you’ll be stuck making separate accounts for each marketplace, instead of being able to use a single account with the federal exchange. And if you have the option through SHOP to offer a single plan, you may find that it doesn’t work for all of your employees. 

2. A national plan – If the idea of multiple plans in multiple states gives you a headache, you can also look into a national plan. Some insurance companies, such as Aetna, Humana, and United Healthcare now offer the option of healthcare plans that are accessible from multiple states. With a national plan, you don’t have to keep track of multiple states’ rules and can offer everyone the same plan, although again, this can be a downside if your employees are diverse. National plans can also be much more expensive than other plans, such as those offered through SHOP, so they may be out of reach for some smaller businesses. pile of hundred dollar bills stacked on top of each other

3. A self-funded plan – With self-funded plans, you basically take on the responsibility of paying for your employees’ healthcare costs using a pool of money that everyone pays into. This might work well for employees that are diverse and spread out over multiple states, but there are downsides to this type of plan, as well. Typically, smaller businesses have been wary of self-funding because of the risks of major claims wiping out a large chunk of their finances. 

4. A health reimbursement arrangement – This might just be the best option for small businesses looking to ensure employees in multiple states. With a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA), like a QSEHRA or ICHRA, you set aside a fixed monthly amount for your employees (QSEHRAs have a limit, while ICHRAs do not) and employees can choose and purchase their own plans and then come to you for reimbursement. They can also get reimbursed for other qualified health expenses. So, employees get the plan that they want, you save money on payroll taxes by putting aside tax-free money for reimbursement, and you save yourself the headache of picking a one-size-fits-all plan that you need to manage over multiple states. You also get to keep any money that is not claimed at the end of the year. It’s certainly something to consider.

Whatever options you are looking into to do right by your far away employees, EZ can help cut through the jargon and make the whole process a lot less confusing. When you come to us, we’ll set you up with your own personal agent who can answer all of your insurance questions, give you fast and accurate quotes, and even sign you up when you’re ready – all for free! So stop wondering what’s possible when it comes to insuring your remote workforce and get started with us today! Simply enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak with an agent directly, call 888-350-1890. No hassle, no obligation!

EZ Can Help You Cut Group Insurance Costs, Not Benefits

HMO, PPO, and POS, oh my! These are just some of the many different types of group health insurance options on the market. While it’s good to have options, having so many of them can make choosing a healthcare plan intimidating. There are many factors you have to consider, from the types of benefits offered, to your employees’ needs, to your own bottom line. Group health insurance can be costly, but there are ways to cut costs and keep benefits. That’s where EZ.Insure comes in. We are experts in the insurance industry, and so will find you the best value for your money by assessing the needs of both your business and your employees.

Assess Your Employees Needsmagnifying glass over a many clustered pictures of people

Finding out what kinds of benefits are important to your employees is the first step in deciding what kind of plan to offer. For example, some employees will have a family they need coverage for, some will need extra coverage for chronic health conditions, while others will just want the basics. One way you can figure out what your employees want in a healthcare plan is by distributing a health survey

Remember to assess your employees’ plans on a yearly basis, because what worked well for them one year, might not work the next year. 

Make Your Premium Dollars Count

pink piggy bank next to a jar that has money in it labeled HSA
HSAs allow employees to put aside pre-tax money to help offset the out-of-pocket expenses of a high deductible plan.

When choosing a plan, you also need to consider how much cost sharing you can afford. The cost of monthly premiums are generally shared by employees and the employer, and the more you contribute, the more likely your employees are to enroll in your plan. There are ways to save both you and your employees money while still offering them quality insurance. For example, if you choose an ACA Bronze plan and pay 100% of your employees’ premiums, you will still be saving more money than if you were paying a lower percentage of a high premium Gold plan.

If you decide to offer your employees a plan with a lower premium but a high deductible, and decide to pay either most or all of the cost of their premiums, consider also offering a health savings account (HSA). These accounts allow employees to put aside pre-tax money to help offset the out-of-pocket expenses of a high deductible plan. They’ll be saving money on premiums and will be able to put more money into their HSAs. This way, they’ll be more likely to seek care and remain healthy, which can save you money in the long run.

many boxes on one side of a scale and one box on the other side being weighed down.
Comparing plans with one of our agents is the best way to make sure that you know what all of your options are.

Compare ALL Available Plans

The more you know, the less you spend. Not only are there HMOs, PPOs, and POS plans, but there are also the metal tier plans from the ACA, QSEHRA, and more. Comparing plans with one of our agents is the best way to make sure that you know what all of your options are. EZ’s agents are trained, licensed, and highly experienced with all the different types of group plans, and they know what will work best for you and your employees.

Our agent will navigate through all the plans to find the most coverage for your employees, while keeping more money in your pocket. We get how time consuming and irritating it can be to comb through all the different group plans in your area. We will provide you with a personal agent who will assess everyone’s needs, and compare all of the plans available within minutes. All of our services are free, and there are no obligations. To get free quotes, enter your zip code in the bar above, or to speak to an agent, call 888-998-2027.

Can Small Business Owners Afford Group Health?

Studies answer this question with a tentative “for now.”

Group health is the best option for the majority of Americans, with over 100 million covered. People list insurance coverage as a top priority when choosing an employer. However, the question on most researchers’ minds is how long will this be a reality? With healthcare costs increasing yearly, this coverage type is the only option for most Americans.

The Kaiser Family Foundation’s survey conducted over the past decade found increasingly worrisome data.

For Example

To make things simple, we’ll say in 2019, an average worker makes $1000 in one month. (This is excluding the half of Americans not making the average income, and thus not even qualifying for this breakdown.)  Counting for inflation, the $1000 average is an adequate amount for this fictional example.

employees in their store working on how to afford group health
When you’re working hard to keep your business afloat, it can be difficult to offer insurance to your employees. Thankfully, you have help.

However, the premiums for a family are 50% more expensive than the average worker’s income. Meaning, in this example, a premium would cost $2000 per month. Factoring in a spouse, and the employer’s contribution, this should keep things down well enough for affordability, right?


Even with employer help, the 50% higher premium would bring the total up to $500 per month. That’s half or more of each monthly paycheck. On top of this, deductibles soar over 150%. So, in essence, if you make the fictional $12,000/year, you’re expected to contribute to $6,000 in premiums that year, and then meet a $2500 deductible on top of before insurance companies will offer you any assistance for medical expenses.

At $500 a month, you’ll be struggling to pay your rent, let alone medical bills. It paints a somber picture if you’re an average American. 

What Can We Do?

This is easier for larger corporate employers who can afford to take more of the premium burden for their employees, creating a subset of people who are happy with their insurance. For these people, they have lucked out joining a business that can ease this healthcare burden.

However, for the rest, including small businesses, the struggle is much more apparent. Without the help of a larger group, it is difficult for legislation to help extend coverage. While the focus is on extending coverage, perhaps it would be more helpful to talk about lowering premium costs instead or extending other programs like HRAs. With lower costs for everyone, it would bring a greater impact. Both covered employees would be able to afford higher plans, and non-covered ones could actually purchase coverage.

computers to help afford group health for small business owner
Start with EZ.Insure! Our agents can help find the best plan to keep everyone covered–and your bottom line met!

There needs to be a balance, and it looks like the best option for that is to set legislation to lower insurance premiums. For now, Americans’ best choice for health insurance is Group with their employers, making it more important than ever to choose a solid policy.

For the best policy choice, EZ.Insure can help. Our agents are highly trained within your region on all group health insurance plans. When you use EZ.Insure, you will be provided with your own personal agent. Your agent will answer any questions you have, compare the plans available to you, and even sign you up when you are ready, free of charge. To get started simply enter your zip code in the bar above, or you can speak to an agent by emailing, or calling 888-998-2027. There is no hassle involved, and no obligation to buy, and no headaches. Just easy, fast, and free quotes.