There are quite a few good health insurance companies that offer coverage for small businesses. These include Aetna, United Health Care, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Humana and just about every other major carrier.
Of course, there are several factors that a small business owner must consider when choosing an insurance carrier. Some of these include cost, brand, coverage and benefits. Some will want all the bells and whistles and others just want cheap small business health insurance.
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A major key for a small business owner to keep in mind while looking for health insurance is that they are shopping for their company, not for themselves. The needs of the other employees in the business may be very different than those of the business owner and they should be considered, especially when it comes to deciding what will be covered and what won’t. Some employees will need excellent maternity health insurance, others will need better long term care.
Can an employee’s health problems affect coverage?
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Healthcare website, small employers with 2-50 employees cannot be turned down by health insurance companies based on the health status of an employee or their family members. This protection is very important for small businesses- without it, an entire company could be excluded from health benefits because of one or two employees or family members with long term illnesses.
What new changes are taking place?
The Affordable Care Act will offer tax breaks to most small businesses for them to provide health insurance for their employees. The official White House website asserts that the Affordable Care Act will be beneficial for small business. The website states that the Congressional Budget Office, which is independent of the White House, has confirmed that health insurance premiums for small business would be lowered by as much as four percent by the Affordable Care Act.
There are some stipulations for a small business to be able to take advantage of the tax credit. In addition to size restrictions on the business, the business is also required to pay at least 50 percent of the cost of the health care plan for its employees. While the Affordable Care Act was passed in March of 2010, it will take several years to implement. The increase in the small business tax credit is actually one of the last pieces to be implemented and it should not be in place until 2014.
Is health insurance cheaper through an employer?
It is almost always cheaper to get health insurance through an employer, even if you work for a small business. Employers usually get some sort of group health insurance discount, since they are buying insurance for many people. Employers also usually pay some portion of the insurance premiums themselves, which can greatly reduce the cost for an individual.
What are the advantages of offering insurance?
With most businesses these days trying to save money, it might seem logical that they would look to do away with employee health insurance programs, but as it turns out, this is probably not a good idea. Health insurance is the centerpiece of any employee benefit package. Small businesses with good health insurance are able to attract the best applicants even without offering the highest salaries. Retention rates are better for companies with good health insurance, resulting in less employee turnover and less expense for finding and training new staff.
How often can an employer change providers?
An employer can technically change health insurance companies at any time as long as they do not sign a long term contract. Most employers do a standard evaluation once per year to decide if they are going to keep their current plan and options. For a business, the process of finding a health insurance company and enrolling their employees is expensive and time consuming. It’s not something they do if they don’t have to.
Employees are actually more limited in their options. They usually are only able to join a health care plan right after being hired or during a yearly open enrollment period.
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