Let me start with a very strong statement. Not providing employees with healthcare insurance is absolutely reckless! It is complete nonsense to say that there are no affordable options. Actions speak louder than words. If a company is not providing health benefits to their employees, they don’t care enough about their people and they deserve high attrition rates. We demand more and more from our people every day. It is our duty to make sure they don’t have to declare bankruptcy, because of their healthcare bills. I have seen schemes as far as creating sub-entities and distributing employees between them to skirt the state requirements. There are plenty of gaps in laws. If you would rather spend the money on attorneys to figure out how to stiff the people who are working crazy hours to make you succeed – SHAME ON YOU!!!
So now that I have that out of my system, let’s talk about some strategies on how to provide this required portion of compensation while keeping your costs under control.
1. Find a good broker. Wait… let me restate myself, find a broker who will have no problem filling out all your forms and the forms of your employees….someone who gives you their cell phone number and also the numbers of his/her associates. You can’t do this yourself. Crafting the right health insurance package for your team is an art. Skip the salesy types who just push plans onto you.
2. Transparency, transparency, transparency! You have to communicate with your entire team about how you arrived at your decision on what to cover and what options are out there. Many (especially younger) employees don’t understand that decent coverage costs the company many thousands of dollars per person. Don’t forget educating significant others as well. It is easy: buy pizza, buy salads, get everyone in the room and get it figured out.
3. Do not rule out any options. Have your broker bring all your options to the table (PPOs, HMO, high co-pay plans, and etc.) Also, see if any of the organizations you or your company belong to have solutions that may help. In some states, small businesses have the opportunity to join special associations and gain access to a broader range of options.
4. Encourage everyone to join the health plans of their spouses/partners. The best encouragement is a yearly extra bonus, if they confirm they are covered. I have never seen a spouse of a teacher, cop, or other public (or larger private) sector employee say no to this solution. You save money and your employee is covered.
5. Employees should share the costs of their health insurance. Always have a certain percentage of your monthly costs paid by the employee. If you can offer PPO and HMO (or even several levels), do so. People love options.
Do you have a solution to make sure your employees are provided with at least catastrophic event coverage? Please share it with us.