How To Save on Small Business Health Insurance
Offering good benefits is integral to your ability to recruit and retain great employees, and health insurance is undoubtedly one of the employer-provided benefits that people value most. For many small businesses, affording good group coverage can be extremely challenging. Working with a knowledgeable health insurance broker and exploring strategies to save could help you spend less on this crucial line item. Here are a few tactics that could allow you to fit your healthcare plan into your budget more manageably.
Survey the Marketplace With Your Broker
To find the most competitive rates for
group health insurance coverage, you don’t have to approach every single carrier individually. Working with a broker is the ideal way to do a comprehensive search for affordable coverage with all of the most popular and affordable providers.
A lot of the best brokers already have well-established working relationships with major carriers. Those connections can be advantageous for getting responsive communications from carriers, detailed presentations of the different ways that you can structure coverage, and a thorough breakdown of different plans’ benefits.
Choose Plan Tiers Smartly
Having employees choose coverage from just one or two tier options might have some drawbacks. While it may seem like a way to simplify benefits administration, it could force people to get more coverage than they really need. Practically speaking, this means higher premiums without substantive advantages.
Consider purchasing coverage from a health insurance carrier that allows enrollees to choose from multiple plans. Flexible options give people more freedom to get the insurance that fits their individual needs. People who don’t have any health conditions and don’t need to include dependents on their plans can access more affordable premiums, and your share of the responsibility for premiums payments will also be less expensive.
You could also opt to require employees who elect a higher tier of coverage to bear a larger percentage of the premiums. So long as you’re communicative and consistent about setting employees’ responsibilities based on their choice of coverage, you can steer clear of potential liability issues.
Get a Different Type of Plan
If you’re currently enrolled in a PPO plan for small businesses, making a switch to an HMO or EPO could yield considerable savings on premiums. In general, these plans don’t entail sacrificing specific benefits or making big compromises on covered services. However, they require enrollees to receive care from providers who participate in the carrier’s network. This means that people may access treatment from only network participants, which may mean that they have fewer hospitals or practitioners to choose from if they need care. HMOs and EPOs also generally require insureds to get referrals for specialists from a primary care physician.
Offer a Wellness Plan
Including a wellness plan in your employee benefits may not seem like an obvious or immediate way to reduce insurance costs. In fact, this add-on may represent a moderate increase in coverage costs within the first year that you offer it. However, it could generate long-term savings on premiums and also carry a couple of other distinct advantages.
These programs promote good preventative care and help people enhance their awareness about their health. Features such as nutritional counseling, smoking cessation support, or group fitness opportunities can empower your workforce to develop healthy habits. By making people healthier, wellness plans can reduce their utilization of their primary health insurance plan. Lower utilization rates can make renewing coverage more affordable.
A healthier workforce may also result in decreased utilization of other costly benefits such as short or long-term disability plans. Likewise, giving personnel resources that help them manage their health makes them less susceptible to injury, illness, or progressive health conditions. Consequently, a wellness plan can reduce absenteeism. It may also make employees more productive on the job. Furthermore, showing your workforce that their wellness is a priority can bolster your efforts to cultivate a strong company culture.
Monitor Medicare Utilization
If you have employees who are over 65 years old, you do not have to include them in group coverage. As a compliance matter, you have no obligation to cover individuals who are eligible for
medicare. Be sure to formalize this policy in your employee handbook, and apply it consistently to avoid perceptions that people are being excluded unfairly.
Get Professional Input About Current Coverage Trends
It’s a good idea to get professional insight about emerging trends in small business health insurance from an experienced broker. Make it a point to seek out guidance from someone who has a thorough understanding of the financial obstacles that carriers are currently facing and how those obstacles are affecting their small business clients. A broker can give you practical guidance about what you can do to stay ahead of potential issues, steer clear of unexpected costs, and strategize about problems involving overutilization.
For help evaluating the best health insurance options for your small business,
contact Sackett & Associates Insurance Services. We can work with you to find affordable coverage for your workforce.