Small Business Health Insurance – Self-Employed Employees May Benefit From Small Business Health Insurance Providers



There are four key aspects you, as a small business owner, must be aware of in terms of small business health insurance: group coverage, premium or contribution rates, type of plan and shopping around for better coverage. You need to know these things because not knowing them could cost your company a lot of money. Each of these has an effect on your bottom line and could cause a great deal of business loss. In this article we will look at the first two issues in more detail. In the next article we will look at shopping around for the best rates and coverage available.


The first thing to know about small business health insurance is that there are basically two types – group coverage and self-employed health coverage plans. Most small business owners go with a self-employed health coverage plan option. Self employed health plan options are typically sponsored by employers, though there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, Kaiser Permanente offers a special program called Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) for self-employed individuals. If your employer does not offer a health coverage option, you can enroll in this program.


In addition to self-employed health insurance, there are also other small business health insurance options for employees. Some employees have family needs that they cannot meet without coverage. Other employees are just covered for normal health needs. Still other employees may need to get special coverage depending on their employment status. So, it pays to ask about these kinds of coverage from the insurers you are thinking about working with.


Self-employed individuals can also get coverage through their workplace, if they offer health insurance to their full-time employees. However, many self-employed individuals don’t offer health insurance to their part-time employees. If your company offers coverage but not to your part-time employees, find out if you can offer it to them as an add-on service. Many insurers will charge a minimal fee for this option. Additionally, if you have an individual plan and your employees aren’t covered by a group plan, offering them individual coverage can sometimes be cheaper.


Another choice for small business health insurance is to get coverage from a small business health insurance provider. Most of these providers are regional or national. One advantage of working with a regional provider is that you can choose the doctor who provides your coverage. You can also choose different doctors at different locations. Of course, premiums vary depending on the insurer you choose. So, if you want low premiums but don’t have access to a national network of doctors, this might be a good option for you.


Some insurers also offer “open enrollment” periods. This allows you to sign up and give information about your company without being in a group. For instance, if you work as a bookkeeper and you’re self-employed, you can shop for coverage with any open enrollment period you’re eligible for. Typically, open enrollment periods run for a 14-day period. However, some insurers offer longer open enrollment periods.


When looking for small business health insurance, ask about different options for “federally funded” coverage or “risk pools.” These coverage programs provide financial assistance to people whose premiums are so high that they would not otherwise be able to afford coverage. Sometimes, this type of coverage will require your employees to be members of a small group. The benefit may be worth pursuing if you have many employees; however, you’ll end up paying more if you include self-employed individuals in your group.


Many insurers provide HRA, or Health Reimbursement Arrangements, to their employees. The Federal Trade Commission encourages employers to provide this kind of group plan to their employees. They cite the government’s Taxpayer Relief Act as justification for encouraging employers to reimburse workers who’ve experienced loss of income because of illness or injury. To learn more about what an HRA covers and other important facts, be sure to speak to a qualified representative of an HRA provider.

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