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Small Business Owners: What Kind of Insurance Should You Offer to Employees? 

Understanding what types of insurance to offer your small business’s employees can feel like a challenge. However, this is a great problem to have! It means you as the owner has done a wonderful job growing the company and adding new staff members to your dedicated team. Health insurance benefits are a major way to attract top talent to your company.  

The Affordable Care Act changed the landscape for small businesses and now requires companies with 50 or more employees to offer an “affordable” health plan. For an employee-only policy, they cannot spend more than 9.5% of their household income for coverage. Even if your business has fewer than 50 employees, there are still major incentives such as tax credits, employee satisfaction and retention, recruiting talent, and reduced sick time. Here, we are breaking down the basics of the types of insurance coverage to keep your small business’s employees happy and healthy. 

Medical Insurance 

The first step in providing insurance benefits is to offer medical coverage. This includes preventative care like annual checkups, along with emergency support. You as the business owner have options for the types of plans and the amount of subsidizing you want to offer. A Preferred Provider Organization plan is the most common and allows employees to go to a doctor or hospital that is within a “preferred” group. This includes preventative and emergency care. Employees will pay for their monthly premium and any costs up to their deductible. To determine what amount you would like for employees to pay and what you as the business can afford to cover, speak with your local insurance agent who can help you find the best plan and pricing. 

Dental Insurance 

Unlike medical insurance, dental insurance is not required under the Affordable Care Act. However, offering this vital preventative service is typically a low-cost commitment for you as the business owner and a valuable form of care for your employees. Individual employee-sponsored dental plans can cost your small business about $14 to $30 per month per person, with family coverage being higher. Most dental issues are preventative, but they can lead to many more serious health concerns if they are left untreated. Therefore, it is important to offer your small business’s employees the opportunity to enroll in a group plan, even if you cannot subsidize a portion of the cost. A group plan that is negotiated by your insurance agent will be more cost-effective for your employees than a private plan. 

Vision Insurance 

Similar to dental insurance, you are not required to provide your small business employees with vision insurance. However, with three out of four Americans wearing corrective lenses, the cost of eye exams, glasses, and contacts are important to a majority of your employees. If you plan to cover some of the cost for your employees, this is often one of the most inexpensive types of insurance to budget for. Your expense may range from $5 to $10 per month for basic preventative care and corrective lenses. More comprehensive plans, such as those that offer a discount on LASIK surgery or other more intensive procedures, could cost you $15 to $20 per month per employee. Showing your staff that you value all aspects of their health and wellness, especially something that is often out of their control, will go a long way in creating a positive environment for your team. 

Short-Term Disability Insurance 

One final type of insurance that you may want to make available to your employees is short-term disability. While policies can range from three months to a year, each one serves to provide your employee with a portion of their income or salary if they are out of work for a short time. Reasons can include a medical illness or surgery recovery, pregnancy, or injury, but the specific list of covered disabilities will depend on the policy you select. The primary benefit is to your employee, who can hopefully avoid financial hardship while they are unable to work. However, offering this also benefits you as a small business owner. You most likely spend a lot of time and resources selecting and training your staff. By offering this benefit, you can help them maintain their lifestyle, recover safely, and return back to work at the appropriate time.  

Regardless of the size of your small business, offering a variety of insurance plans is becoming more and more important. Jobs and salaries are more competitive than ever, and employees are looking for a company that values both the work they contribute and their personal wellness. Speak with your insurance agent today to determine which group insurance plans are right for your organization. 

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