To offer health insurance or not to offer it — that is the never ending question faced by business owners. There’s a lot of stigma surrounding this theme today, especially where small businesses are concerned. It’s no secret that the regulations for it in the United States are complicated. They’re always changing, shifting, and being overturned, so many businesses are left grasping for any footing they can.
While state and federal laws usually require insurance providers to accept small employers who apply for coverage, these businesses usually end up paying more for employee health benefits. Why is this? Simply put, they don’t have the buying power of a bigger business. Small businesses end up paying an average of 18% more on health insurance than larger firms for the same amount of coverage.
Does this mean they shouldn’t offer health insurance? Not at all. The tax breaks and subsidies provided to small businesses who opt into coverage are a big relief, and offering insurance is an excellent way to boost employee morale. Obviously, healthy workers are better workers, and we should all do more to take good care of our employees. However, health insurance doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are 3 ways that these companies can save on costs.
1. Purchasing Cooperatives
Remember how we explained that small businesses have less buying power compared to bigger enterprises? While this is true, it doesn’t mean they can’t band together to reduce costs. This process is known as a purchasing cooperative, and it helps small companies gain big bargaining power with insurance providers.
The level of success you’ll find with a purchasing cooperative will depend on your local laws, but it’s definitely worth considering. In many cases, you’ll end up saving your company big money, and your employees will likely gain access to other benefits like dental benefits and more.
2. Provide Dental and Vision Plans
Many people are surprised to find that dental, vision, and other “extras” are not covered under traditional health insurance. These are considered supplemental plans, and they’re usually purchased separately. Many small businesses opt for traditional insurance, but they skip the extras like dental and vision plans.
Why might this be a bad idea? First, dental and health benefits are extremely important to modern job seekers. According to one survey by FRACTL, having more health benefits which included a dental plan led many people to choose a lower paying job. Including dental coverage within a health package has also shown to lower the overall costs of healthcare which is good news for both employees and employers.
Finally, providing medical benefits combined with supplemental plans simplifies the entire process. Find the best plans that include dental and vision without the hassle so your employees (and your business) can save the most time and money – check out HealthMarkets health insurance plans.
3. Offer a Company Wellness Program
Finally, the last way to lower the costs of your small business health insurance is to provide a company wellness program to encourage healthy living. While you can only play so much of a role in your employee’s health, showing them you care by offering healthy snacks, on-site health screenings, and free gym memberships can all lower your overall insurance costs.
Increasing health awareness is always a good idea, and it might be more affordable than you think. You can find a number of free or inexpensive health planning tools online with things like nutritional advice, meal-planning, and fitness routines. Though it might seem small, running a company wellness program will pay off in a bigger way.
Let’s defeat the stigma that small business insurance is both expensive and complicated. While it might not be as straightforward as it should be, change is on the horizon. The more the companies join together to make it more affordable, the more options we’ll have as a group.
In addition, new technology like telemedicine is popping up to make healthcare more affordable. Hopefully, in the next few years, this will be less of an issue for organizations of all shapes and sizes. No matter your size, it’s time to take control of your and your employee’s health with the right insurance plan.