Health Insurance

Health Insurance

Buying Tips for Small Business Health Insurance

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Think you can't afford health insurance for your employees? Think again. Insurance providers offer a range of small business health insurance programs designed to meet the needs of all kinds of small businesses, from 2 to 100 employees.

The number one concern of all small business owners is the cost per employee and how that will affect the company's bottom line. However, so many plans now available, there is sure to be one that can meet most budget constraints.

Another concern of the employer is that he is providing the kind of coverage that not only protects his employees but it is a good benefit that will attract and retain top-notch business candidates. One way to reduce premiums is to increase the co-payments employees pay to see the doctor. However, if an employer increases the co-pay from $15 to $45, is this putting a visit to the doctor out of reach for most of his employees based on their salaries?

It is a balancing act. However, there are professionals available that can help you through the quagmire.

Who are you covering?

group of doctors

To get small business health insurance quotes, you'll need to provide detailed information on your employees, such as:

The answers will determine your overall premiums. It's important to note that insurers can't deny you coverage for any reason, provided you meet their minimum requirements. Many states also regulate the rates insurers can charge. Some group policies base rates on sex and age only.

What kind of coverage do you want?

Small business group health insurance plans usually provide fairly simple coverage - around 90% of small businesses offer only one plan. You'll choose one type of provider, most often a PPO, HMO, or POS. You'll want to choose a plan that has good coverage in your area, so review lists of participating hospitals and doctors.

You'll also be able to choose from extras like vision and dental coverage and family coverage. While not required, these types of extras can be an inexpensive way to give a small business health insurance plan a big company feel. Also, many small businesses make the additional coverage available, but the full price is the responsibility of the employee. However, with it being part of a group, the rate will be much less than if the employee sought the coverage on his own.

How much will you have to pay?

You'll have to pay a portion of your employees' premiums. The exact percentage will depend on state law and the specific policy you choose. You can choose to pay more of the premium, as well, but be cautions - your employees will appreciate it, but the cost can add up quickly as your small business grows.

Annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage reached $16,351 in 2013, up 4 percent from last year, with workers on average paying $4,565 toward the cost of their coverage, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research & Educational Trust (HRET).

Another trend is that employers are offering coverage on the individual employee only and not offering family coverage at all. The second choice is a tiered structure where you may have the employee and one dependent and then another tier for a full family plan.

On average, small businesses pay 65% of the cost. The cost is also tax deductible for most businesses, which reduces the financial burden.

How to find small business health insurance

Once you gather the basic information, you'll want to find a small business health insurance broker who can help you research the available plans and help you get the coverage you need. BuyerZone's free request for health insurance price quotes service lets you quickly get in touch with brokers in your area.

Once you've found several potential brokers, ask detailed questions about how they can help you get the right health insurance for your small business. The right broker can help you with your health insurance needs now and in the future - even when your small business isn't so small any more.

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