This is a sponsored post by UnitedHealthcare. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
The status of the Affordable Care Act is up in the air and premiums are rising. The job market is tightening, making an employer offering of health coverage more important than ever to attract new and retain employees. And employers are more concerned than ever in keeping their staff healthy and more productive. The Business Journals SMB Insights found that in 2017 63% of small businesses (you have to sign up to get a free download) were very concerned about the cost of health insurance, which is up from 59% in the previous year. What’s a small business to do?
Start shopping soon
Fall is the season for getting health coverage lined up for the coming year. Shopping for coverage can be a time consuming and confusing chore, especially for small business owners who are largely focused on money-making activities for their companies. The sooner you start to look at coverage options, the less pressured you’ll feel and likely you’ll be able to make the best choice for you and your employees.
When shopping for coverage, keep in mind that you can fully deduct the premiums you pay. As the IRS points out, the premiums aren’t income to your employees so you don’t owe any FICA or FUTA taxes on them.
Change the way you shop for coverage
Whether you’re looking to continue coverage next year or will be offering coverage for the first time, a smart way to shop for health coverage is online because it saves you time, is easy, and is highly efficient. UnitedHealthcare has created a new online portal created specifically for small businesses shopping for health coverage. Designed for companies with two to 50 employees, this online shopping option allows you to compare your options and buy the coverage that’s right for your company.
More specifically, you can:
- Review available health plans based on your location. These plans may include HMOs, PPOs, or other types of plans.
- Submit information about your employees, such as age, gender, and family size, and then receive price quotations.
If you’re confused by the process, you can get support from coverage advisors. You can also do your own research by clicking on a “learn more” button to find additional resources.
Buy coverage easily
It’s up to you to set parameters for your health care offering:
- Determine how much you will pay per employee. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey last year, 45% of small firms offer the same dollar amount for coverage, whether the employee has individual or family coverage. The amount you pay toward health coverage depends, of course, on your budget. Employees pay the balance of the premium for the plan that they get.
- Decide on the scope of coverage. You can offer a single plan or customize the choices for employees. You can add on specialty benefits, such as dental and vision coverage. Or you can choose a plan that is a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) that can be combined with a Health Savings Account. If you want employees to choose a plan that meets their needs, you can line up at least six options and then let them use an online plan selection tool to find the best coverage at the right price for them.
Once you’ve set your parameters, use a simple three-step process to buy your coverage for 2018. It’s estimated to take only 20 minutes from start to finish.
Regardless of whether you are required by law to offer coverage, it’s essential these days that you do so. Using an online shopping option such as the one offered by UnitedHealthcare gives you the most flexibility to find the right solution for your company.
The views expressed do not reflect those of UnitedHealthcare nor its affiliates. They are the personal opinions of the authors. While UnitedHealthcare has made every attempt to ensure accuracy, the information contained in these blogs may change and UnitedHealthcare assumes no responsibility for errors, omissions, contrary interpretations of the subject matter or information herein or for any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. These blogs may connect to other websites maintained by third parties over whom UnitedHealthcare has no control. UnitedHealthcare makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information contained in those linked blogs or third party websites. Blogs are for general informational purposes only and not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care.