The most common way to receive health insurance is through your employer. This is referred to as group health insurance because you are receiving health insurance through the group of people that you work with. With group health insurance, you are granted more affordable health insurance than with other plans.
These plans involve lower premiums because the risk is spread throughout the entire group receiving insurance.
While receiving group health insurance from your job is the most common way to go, there are other ways to obtain this form of insurance. If you are a part of a membership organization, you can be offered group health insurance coverage for different services. Being a member of an organization can also make you eligible to receive discounts on your health insurance. For more information on what exactly membership organizations are, which membership organizations offer health insurance plans, what changes have occurred to membership group health insurance plans since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and more, refer to the sections below.
What are membership organizations?
In order to have a good grasp of your health insurance options, it is important to be familiar with common health insurance terms. A membership organization is defined as a group that is focused on providing benefits and resources to the members of the organization. The members can either share a common interest, trade or profession to qualify for group health insurance. The benefits provided by the organization could include discounts in a wide range of services or stores, continued education opportunities, access to various periodicals, as well as group health insurance or group discounts and supplemental health insurance benefits.
Another name for group health plans is association health plans. There is a slight difference between the two in that association health plans are designed to band members together so that they can negotiate better premiums. However, association health plans are still considered group plans, as you have to be a part of a membership group or profession to participate. Another difference between group membership health plans and association health plans is that the members of an association do not have to work for the same employer. They do, however, typically share an industry, interest or other familiar thread that allows them to be considered an association.
Finding a Health Insurance Group Organization
When looking to join a health insurance group or membership plan, you must first consider what membership groups you are already a part of, as you may already be eligible to receive group health insurance. Unions and professional organizations like your local chamber of commerce or alumni associations are all perfect examples of organizations that may offer group health insurance plans.
Another group that offers insurance is the Writers Guild of America. This membership organization is dedicated to offering benefits and resources to professional writers.
If you are considering group health insurance, the following are a few examples of organizations that offer health insurance through group membership, trade or professional organizations:
- AARP Health
- Affiliated Workers Association (AWA)
- Alliance for Affordable Services
- Costco Health Insurance
- National Association for the Self-Employed
The American Institute of Graphics Arts used to also offer standard medical benefits but has since changed its policies after changes were made with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). However, you can still receive medical insurance through this group if you are traveling abroad.
If you are a computer professional, you may receive health benefits through the Association for Computing Machinery.
Group health insurance is ideal if you are self-employed and cannot obtain health insurance through your employer. If you work for yourself, you can still receive group health insurance benefits if you are in one of the aforementioned groups or other similar groups. Your benefits will differ, depending on the insurer you choose and the state you live in.
Finally, if you are a freelance artist, there are free memberships through the Freelancers Union organization that will provide discounts and benefits.
There are also group membership resources for health insurance supplemental health policies. If you are an artist, you may check with the Artists Health Insurance Research Center. The purpose of the center is to help artists receive affordable insurance, but the center does not provide you with insurance directly. The Small Business Service Bureau is another national organization that can help you find affordable insurance if you are in the group.
If you are a member of the National Small Business Association, you can have access to group insurance for disability income insurance, long term care and life insurance.
Why Group Insurance and Health Plans Changed
Finding a health plan through a group membership organization or association used to be a much more common thing to do. In the past, a national association could choose which state health insurance guidelines were best to follow when making their insurance plans. Operating this way allowed each organization to have more coverage options. This caused problems in the quality of service members would receive because there were no standards in place.
The Affordable Care Act then required all health care plans to provide coverage for certain services. When the law changed, some organizations that previously offered group health plans discontinued the option or focused more on supplemental health plans.
Although some insurance and health plans were discontinued, certain plans and services are still being offered to members through specific membership groups and organizations. Taking advantage of group memberships is still a great way to save money on your insurance costs.
It is important to know how different plans will affect you and your family. If you do not receive insurance through your employer, group health insurance is a great way to make sure you are covered.
Learning about your options and how they compare to different plans is key to saving money on health insurance and choosing the best plan for you and your family. It is important to understand that all plans differ in what they offer. Once you find coverage that is suitable for you, it will be easy to choose a group insurance plan.
It is important to take advantage of the different group insurance programs available. Having insurance will inevitably make doctor’s visits and other procedures less costly by providing you with discounts. Consult with an insurance agent to determine which plans will work best for you.