Annual health insurance enrollment is coming up soon and many employers are still struggling to find a commercial insurance health plan that will fit their needs. However, there are some things every entrepreneur should know before they pick a health plan for their employees. Here are a few of them.
Do You Need To?
First, you need to know if you are even compelled to offer health insurance to employees. Recent legislation has led business owners to think that they all need to offer employee health insurance plans. However, this is not true for all business owners. Small business owners may be exempt from this law. But, this is only true if you own a business with fifty or fewer full time employees. If your business employs more than 50 people full time, you are required by law to offer health insurance options for employees. Once you know you do in fact have to offer health insurance, then you can start browsing your options that will improve workplace safety for many years to come.
Understand Which Options Are Open to You
There are many health insurance categories to choose from and many people are completely unaware of how they differ. Defined benefit plans, for instance, are usually what most people think about when they think about employer provided insurance.
With defined benefits plans, the employer offers a group plan to employees and the employee will be limited to the few service providers within the network. Defined contribution plans work differently. The employer will usually offer an allocation to its employees and the employee will then have the option of choosing which plan works the best for them.
With professional employer organizations, you can offer the same benefit rich plans as big companies offer without the scale. Professional employer organizations will usually co-opt your employees and transfer the savings they get through a variety of providers down to your employees. This is often the case with companies that offer short term health insurance.
It is important not to forget about the Healthcare.gov marketplace options. The site features an entire section just for small business healthcare. You can browse through the small business health insurance plans they offer. In addition, you can get in touch with a Healthcare.gov expert to help you find the best plan for your business. These trained health insurance experts are sure to have you raining thank you sayings down on them after a single consultation. If you are worried about the impending doom of the Affordable Care Act, do not be. The more small business owners like you buy in, the more stable the marketplace becomes. Consider the small business health insurance plans offered through the government for low-cost healthcare solutions for business.
Think About Wellness Programs
Yes, health insurance is one thing, but it would be nice to also have a solid prevention plan in place to reduce the chances of absenteeism and ensure that you have a healthy workforce. Having solid preventative measures in place is a surefire way to reduce healthcare costs and small business insurance. Implementing wellness programs with bonuses and tracking results with the use of fitness trackers is a growing trend at the moment and can work wonders on your employees’ morale.
Also, you could consider offering discounts to employees who enroll in your wellness program to encourage participation. However, make sure that everything is clearly stated in writing and part of the health insurance contract as some employers had to suffer legal action for not charging the same premiums to all their employees. This is, unfortunately, something you cannot prevent with a security camera, a written declaration of some sort will be necessary.
Understand the Differences between HMOs, PPOs and EPOs
It is very important for any employer to fully understand the difference between the type of plans they offer employees. This should be a part of human resource training at all businesses. Health maintenance organizations, or HMOs for short, will lower the costs your employees have to pay for healthcare, but will significantly limit the number of providers they have access to.
PPOs, or preferred provider organizations, are similar to HMOs, but they offer more payment protection options. In this case, employees don’t need referral to consult a doctor and can choose providers from outside the network. However, costs will usually be higher. Also, premiums for PPOs are usually higher than with HMOs.
EPOs, or exclusive provider organizations, are like a fusion of both. Employees will still be limited to a set group of providers within the network, but there will be no need for a referral to see a professional.
Choosing a good health plan is essential for the well being of your employees. Before you decide on a plan, it would be wise to see what your competitors are doing. This will give you a good indication of what you can afford and what works best in your line of business, regardless of whether or not you have to worry about things like the comptroller tax.