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Five easy steps for selecting health insurance for a small business

A guide to choosing the best health insurance for a small business

The health insurance plan and options that you offer to your employees can play an important role in the success of your small business. In fact, health insurance is one of the most attractive benefits you can offer to your employees, which makes choosing the right plan design a great investment in the future of your business. When your employees and their covered dependents have access to quality care where and when they need it, they often feel happier and healthier. Workplace morale and productivity can improve, while at the same time health care costs can be better controlled. Offering a robust health insurance plan can even help you attract and retain top talent.

Choosing the right plan type and design isn’t an easy decision, and there is a lot to consider. Not sure where to start? Follow our five easy steps for selecting health insurance for a small business.

Step 1: Evaluate your small business’ health insurance needs

Depending on the makeup of your workforce, and where they are located, they may want or need different services when it comes to health plan coverage. Asking the right questions can help you figure out what’s most important to your employees so you can offer them an affordable plan that meets their needs.

Here are some questions to consider asking:

  • What doctors, hospitals, and facilities do you prefer?
  • Do you need coverage for your spouse, domestic partner, or dependent children?
  • Would you prefer to use apps and other digital tools to schedule and manage your appointments, pay your bills, and access your medical files?

One option to obtain this information from your employees is to conduct an anonymous survey. This can seem daunting if you’ve never done it before. Many online survey tools are available for free if you want to go the digital route.

Step 2: Explore small business health insurance plan options

Just like anything you shop for, it’s worthwhile to understand all your options when it comes to health insurance plans—especially if your workforce has changed. Weighing your options can help ensure that you choose a health plan that’s right for your employees and your business. Here are some plan options to consider:

  • Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs) – PPOs provide members access to a large network of providers.
  • Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) – HMOs provide members access to a select group of doctors and hospitals in their local service area.
  • Qualified high-deductible health plans (QHDHPs) – These plans work well for members who want to save money for health care expenses while being covered for unexpected health care events. Plus, your business can save money on monthly premium costs.
  • Spending accounts – Health savings accounts (HSAs) or health care flexible spending account (FSAs) can help your employees save for future qualified health care expenses and contain costs for your business.

Additionally, consider what type of health insurance carrier you’d prefer to work with. National carriers tend to offer different plan types, networks, and services than local carriers. Integrated health care systems can help you maximize the investment you are making in their employees’ health and wellness by delivering high-quality care at low costs. If you work with a producer, you can always reach out to them for additional guidance; they can review your options and answer any questions you may have.

Step 3: Research additional features and programs

An add-on benefit can augment your health insurance plan, and can be good for your small business’ overall health. Integrating physical and behavioral health programs into your plan design can enable your employees to take a holistic approach to improving their health.

  • Dental and vision – Offering both dental and vision benefits can serve as effective, preventive health care. For example, a dentist can help detect many serious illnesses during a routine checkup, including diabetes and osteoporosis. An optometrist can detect high blood pressure and diabetes during an eye exam.
  • Employee assistance programs (EAPs) – EAPs are another value-added benefit because it shows your employees that you are committed to their overall well-being, including their emotional, physical, and other needs. They can connect members to the resources they need so they stay focused and productive, such as counseling sessions to financial resources.
  • Wellness programs – These programs are designed to improve member health; enable a healthier workplace; and cultivate a more engaged, motivated workforce. Health coaching can give your employees the encouragement they need to get started on their wellness journey and stay focused on making lifestyle changes and managing a chronic condition.

Step 4: Consider your budget

Budget and timing are a critical part of shopping and purchasing a health insurance plan. If you don’t leave yourself enough time to think through these, you could end up having to rush into or settle for a health insurance plan that doesn’t meet all your business’ needs.

Answering these questions can help you start to think through your budget:

  • How many employees and covered dependents will you have?
  • How much can you budget to contribute monthly for each employee?
  • How much do you want your employees to contribute each month?

Step 5: Connect with a team of experts

Selecting health insurance is complex and can be a difficult process for companies of all sizes to navigate. Having access to a knowledgeable team, whether it’s through an insurance carrier or a producer, is an incredible advantage when you are shopping for health insurance for a small business.

When you’re ready to connect with a team of experts, make sure to have all of the information and research you’ve gathered ready to share. They will guide you in making the right decision for your small business.

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