GAWDA Sponsored Group Health Program

On July 1, the Gases and Welding Distributors Association began offering a national association-sponsored group health purchasing program offered through United Healthcare and sponsored through The Horton Group, an association insurance program sponsor based in Chicago. This program is open to any current GAWDA member firm, and can be joined on the first of any month. The rates and plans will not be subject to change before July 1, 2016.

As of September 1, twelve GAWDA member employers had already joined, and another six are committed for the October effective date. However, less than 15 percent of all GAWDA member firms have currently requested a quotation.

This program was developed due to the significant increases in health insurance rates and substantial negative changes to health plans in most states being offered to independent small employer groups. Most plans are facing sizable cost increases while reducing benefits to comply with the Affordable Care Act. In addition, many health insurance carriers have announced rate increases of 35 percent or more in individual and small groups of less than 100 employees around the country.

This leaves many employers struggling to find ways to retain health benefits as a competitive part of their compensation package to recruit and retain needed talent. Now with announced pending mergers, less competition and higher filed rates for 2016, more substantial increases in costs are likely to come.

GAWDA’s group health program can help employers avoid these significant cost increases, stabilize their offerings, and provide a long-term competitive solution to meet their employees’ needs. The rates take advantage of a larger pool of employers, making costs more affordable now and sustainable for the future. Remaining a competitive employer and using tax-deductible health insurance as a benefit enhance the requirement and retention of quality talent for your businesses.

GAWDA’s group health program has been able to offer competitive, customized medical, dental and vision plans so employees can best meet their personal coverage needs. The key element for success is to grow program membership during the coming year. All GAWDA members offering health insurance, particularly those between 20 and 200 employees, should be getting a quote for the GAWDA Health Insurance Program.

As member firms receive their renewals or renew programs built around calendar year deductibles, I would strongly recommend that you contact The Horton Group representatives about two months prior to the renewal date. With basic information provided to them, they will provide you with final rates so that you can make an informed decision and comparison. If acceptable, binder checks and employee applications electing coverage must be received by them no less than ten business days prior to effective date elected.

For more information about the GAWDA Health Insurance Program, contact Toi Logan at 708-845-3160, send an email to, or visit GAWDA’s website at

Gases and Welding Distributors Association
John Ospina Meet the Author
John Ospina is GAWDA’s executive director. He can be reached at GAWDA headquarters in Hollywood, Florida, via telephone at 877-382-6440 or email at