One of the key components of running a successlful small business is workforce retention. As an employer, when you find good people who are willing to work hard and help you achieve your goals of success, you want to give them an incentive to continue working for your company. Offering health insurance benefits is a great extra that you can provide for your employees to encourage them to stick with you for the long haul.
Unfortunately, buying health insurance for your small business can feel a bit overwhelming, especially with the high volume of information saturating the Internet. You want to make sure that you choose a plan and provider that is going to supply the kind of coverage your staff needs to live healthy lives. Here are a few steps to follow that will guide you in purchasing the best health insurance plan for your company, while avoiding the headaches of sifting through mountains of information online.
Assess Your Needs
When you start shopping for health insurance you have to assess your needs first, as this will help clarify what type of policy you and your employees need. One of the first questions to ask is who the plan will be covering. Call a meeting with your staff to find out their current health insurance situation. Ask if anyone has coverage under their spouse or through another family member. It is important to know how many people and their families will need to be covered, as this will decide the type of plan you choose and will have a major impact on the overall cost of the coverage.
Group health insurance, which is the type of insurance used by small businesses, is usually regulated by state law. It is important to keep in mind that most states will require an employer who provides health insurance for its employees to pay at least 50 percent of the monthly premium. Remember that percentage when shopping around for a quote. If you find a plan below your budget that provides great quality care, you may want to consider chipping in a bit more than the minimum 50 percent as an extra incentive.
You will also need to find out whether your employees want to pay more up front when they are well and less when they are ill, or the other way around. This is a great conversation to have during the benefitis meeting mentioned earlier. Some plans have higher annual deductibles, but come with a smaller monthly premium, while others have a higher premium but lower deductible. Once you know where the majority of your employees stand, you will want to try and find a plan that has a good balance between the deductible and the premium.
Ask your team what kind of benefits are important to them, as this will also play a critical role in determining what policy you choose for your business. Federal laws will prohibit you from asking too many detailed questions about an individual’s private medical history, but you can still ask them if they want something that provides more coverage for prescription drugs, or if they are interested only in catastrophic health coverage. This would also be a good time to discuss whether or not your team is interested in add-ons like dental and vision care.
Getting a Quote
Once you have gathered some initial information from your assessment, you are ready to go get quotes from various providers and compare prices and benefits to find the plan that best suits your employee’s needs. The simplest way to get a quick quote is to do an online search. Most companies can allow you to get a quote through their website in a matter of minutes, while others may perfer to sit down in person and dig deep to find coverage that specifically matches your needs. Meeting with an agent is always a good idea, as you get more in-depth information about the company, benefits, and cost.
There are three things you need to keep in mind when shopping for quotes:
- Benefits: Make sure that you find a plan that features benefits that are important to you and your staff. Try to avoid buying policies with a lot of extra bells and whistles you don’t need.
- Cost: Before you start shopping around, make sure you set a budget and then do your best not to go over it. If a plan is out of your range, keep looking.
- Brand: Do your due diligence on an insurance provider before deciding to purchase plans through their company. Check online to see what kind of reputation they have with their customers. Check the company’s financial ratings also, as you want to do business with a company that is financially solvent, as well as in good standings with their clients.
Apply for Coverage
Once you have selected a plan, you are ready to apply for the coverage. It is best to do this in the presence of a licensed agent with the company you are purchasing the coverage from, as they can guide you through the process and answer any questions that might pop up while filling out the paperwork.
Many employers worry that the health of their employees may cause them to be ineligible for the coverage they are applying for, but there is no need for concern. Group health insurance will not decline coverage based on an individual employee’s health history, though their current health may have an impact on the monthly premium.
Next comes enrollment, which is the process of getting your staff signed up for the health insurance plan you have purchased. You will work with your agent to ensure that all of the paperwork is filled out correctly and all of the necessary materials have been collected and turned into the insurance provider.
After you have completed these steps, you will need to follow up with your agent to see when your company’s benefits begin. Make sure to keep your agent’s contact information in a safe place so that if problems or questions should arise later on down the road, you know exactly who to contact. While shopping for the right insurance can be time consuming, it does not have to be stressful. Following these three simple steps will help you get the best coverage for your employees to ensure that they stick with your company for a lifetime.