Workplace perks like healthcare coverage aren't just another benefit that employers should offer. Instead, think of it as a tool that will provide you with a competitive edge to help attract and retain the best talent available. If you want to hire and keep high caliber employees, then you must offer incentives like healthcare. But for many small businesses, the cost of benefits like healthcare coverage can seem prohibitive, especially if you're a startup or you’re not familiar with purchasing insurance.
The truth is that even the smallest businesses with the smallest budgets can still find affordable employee health care and we’ll show you exactly how you can do it.
Survey Your Employees to Find Out What Coverage Is Important
When you're working with a limited budget, it’s crucial to start by finding out what kind of benefits your employees need and want. If you have a young and healthy workforce that doesn’t require a lot of prescriptions or specialty care, offering basic insurance that covers trips to the doctor and routine lab work might be sufficient.
But, if you have older or less healthy employees who require higher drug coverage would require a different type of plan. These are the questions you have to get answered, because when you're on a budget, the best thing to do is find the plan that will provide exactly what your employees need.
Set a Budget and Shop Around for Traditional and Alternative Options
Once you know what kind of coverage you need, take a look at a few plan options from different insurers to get a general idea of the cost. Compare that with your own financial records and set a budget for your insurance plan. Once that’s done, you can start shopping around more seriously for plans that suit your budget and the needs of your employees. Make sure you talk to agents from multiple insurers and compare the plans they offer. A few options worth considering include:
- Traditional private insurance companies
- Healthcare spending accounts
- Plans offered through trade associations
- Online marketplaces
- Flexible spending accounts
- Level funding
Ask Employees to Chip in for Their Own Benefits
Just because you're offering health care coverage doesn’t mean you have to cover the entire cost yourself, and it’s acceptable to request that employees contribute to the cost. Most insurance companies require that the employer cover at least 50 percent of the cost, and once you’ve determined your budget and figured out the right plan for your needs, then you can determine how much of a contribution your employees need to make.
Start with Minimal Coverage if You Must
There's nothing worse than being given something great only to have it taken away, and when it comes to providing health coverage in the workplace, it’s better to start small and expand later than to start big and have to take away benefits. When you're working with a limited budget but still want to provide competitive benefits, consider starting with a bronze or silver plan that has lower premiums but still provides basic coverage. If your insurance budget increases later on, you can always switch to a more comprehensive plan.
Offering health insurance is one of the best ways you can attract great talent in today’s workforce, but it can be difficult to do when you’re a small business working with a tight budget. The good news is that it is possible to provide health care coverage for your employees, and it all starts with working with the right insurance agent.