For those out there wondering if the ship for small business group health insurance has permanently sailed, your questions aren't without justification. After all, according to data compiled by the Commonwealth Fund and the Kaiser Family Foundation, small businesses currently pay 18% higher premiums than larger businesses, and foot more than 70% of their employees' health insurance premiums. The result: an uninsured rate among employees of small businesses that tops 50%. As bleak as those statistics are, by shopping smart, making sacrifices where necessary, and getting creative with health care coverage, it is possible to procure affordable group health insurance for small businesses and their employees.
Choose Your Small Business Group Health Insurance Plan Carefully
First and foremost, the type of small business group health plan you choose determines your health care costs more than any other factor. That being the case, it's important for small businesses to be realistic in making a distinction between the levels of health insurance they would like to make available to employees and the types of plans they can actually afford. Obviously investing in a 100% employer covered PPO package is ideal, but if it comes down to choosing between going out of business, eliminating insurance coverage altogether, or reducing costs with a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) and Health Savings Accounts (HSA), there's little doubt which course of action most employees would prefer.
Nickel and Diming Your Way to Affordable Group Health Plans
Beyond choosing a health plan that fits your finances, there are also a number of other strategies that small businesses can implement in order to save money on group health insurance for small business. While none of these proven tactics for cutting health care expenditures are going to lead to financial windfalls, when taken together they can be the difference between being able to offer insurance to your employees and forcing them to go without.
- Select Higher Deductibles and Co-PaysRaising deductibles and co-pays has an inverse effect on monthly premiums. The higher they go, the lower premiums drop.
- Reduce BenefitsEvery benefit you add increases the cost of your group health insurance for small business. That said, eliminating fringe benefits such as prescription drug coverage, dental, or eye care options can reduce premiums while keeping your core health insurance plan intact.
- Introduce (or Raise) Employee ContributionsIn today's health care climate, it's not unreasonable to ask your employees to share more of the burden if they want to maintain high levels of small business group health care.
- Invest in Wellness ProgramsBecause small business group health insurance caters to businesses with 50 employees or less, the individual health of each participant has a much larger impact on group premiums as a whole. That being the case, the healthier your employees are, the lower your premiums are going to be. Wellness programs such as weight loss programs, gym memberships, and smoking cessation programs, to name a few, can reap large benefits for a relatively minor investment.
- Deduct Small Business Group Health Premiums100% of the small business group health insurance premiums you pay as an employer can be deducted as a business expense from your federal taxes.
- Fight for your Right for Insurance: Get to Know Laws and RegulationsThere are many federal and state laws in place to protect the right of small businesses to procure reasonable small business group health insurance plans. From federal guaranteed issue and guaranteed renewal laws, to state caps on small business group health insurance rates, the better you know federal and local laws, the better you'll be able to fight for your right to affordable health care in a small business setting.
Shop Around for Insurance
Last, but not least, remember that it always pays to shop around when it comes to finding a small business health care plan that is the right fit for you and your employees. By soliciting multiple quotes from a diverse group of potential providers, you'll be able to compare providers, plans, and rates on the way to finding the best small business insurance value on the market. Even better, you can accomplish that, and more, in a few simple steps by soliciting your quotes through a free online insurance quote service like NetQuote.com.