So you may be asking yourself, well, why would you want to consider a private plan versus a state option? What we've heard from customers is a couple different pieces of feedback. One-- and this may not be shocking to folks-- is you can potentially have a lower rate.
So Margaret covered, for groups that are 25 or more enrolled in the state of Massachusetts, the rate is a flat rate of about $0.75. And she broke out how that's split apart. We've seen rates range from 20% to 40% below that figure. That could be better based on your demographics and industry than the state plan. So there's an opportunity save money just on your bottom line rate with private plans.
The other piece to it, is you lower your tax burden. So the state plan requires that you are paying for that premium today in 2020, and even in 2019, for a benefit that begins on 1/1/21. So in essence, you're prefunding the plan via taxes for the state.
Private carriers such as Guardian do not require the prefunding. So you're able to save and lower your tax rate because Guardian is not going to charge the premium until 1/1/2021. So you save from a cash flow and tax perspective.
And the third, which is not necessarily as much financial, but is just as important and we want to reiterate, is, what is the experience going to be like for you as an employer, as well as for your employees? What we've heard is feedback that the employers really want to have an integrated approach with Massachusetts paid family leave and a short-term disability program.
As Margaret mentioned, the PFO is not going to necessarily cover all of your income earners like a short-term disability plan might. And so what we're seeing is most groups are maintaining their short-term disability program in conjunction with the new Massachusetts program. And they want to make sure that they have both of those benefits with one carrier.
And I equate that to when you were grocery shopping-- this may sound kind of simple-- you go to the same grocery store that you buy your bread, you're buying your cereal. You're not going to two separate grocery stores. Because it's just much easier and makes a lot of sense to streamline your process.