Like most small-business owners, Mike Perivolaris is always looking to control costs at his Long Island, N.Y., kitchen remodeling company. With fewer than 50 employees, he's not required to offer health benefits under the Affordable Care Act, but he thinks it gives him an advantage in hiring.
"We target people that are stable, family people who expect at this point, you know, that the insurance is going to be taken care of by their employer," said the president of Marcos Kitchen & Bath Installations.
Facing a 20 percent increase from his old insurance carrier this year, Perivolaris' broker suggested he try a new plan, from a brand-new insurer tied to one of the area's biggest hospitals, North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System. He decided to gamble on the upstart, because its rate was $10,000 cheaper, and its network would allow his staff to keep the doctors who were on their old plan.
(Read more: Obamacare 'not a bad thing' says hospital chief)
"The people that accept this insurance seem to be the doctors that they already had. So, it seemed natural," Perivolaris said.
"That's the secret sauce behind who we are," said Alan Murray, CEO of North Shore-LIJ's new CareConnect health insurance unit.