If you're a sole proprietor, freelancer or independent contractor
You should consider purchasing an individual health insurance plan. You can research your options online or use a licensed insurance agent or broker to help find the right plan. Because you only need to shop for you and your family, finding the right policy may be easier than finding a policy for multiple employees.
If you have more than one employee
You're likely required to provide health insurance options (especially if you have more than 25 employees). You may want to use a licensed insurance agent or broker in this instance as you're not only shopping for you and your family but also for your employees.
However, if you have a good understanding of what you and your employees need (or want) in an insurance plan, you may go directly to the Small Business Health Options Program Marketplace or use a private health exchange (if available). You can review multiple policies online and offer different options to your employees. Then, they can select something that best meets their needs.
What you should look for in health insurance
The key to finding the right insurance for your employees is to understand their needs. Ask yourself the following questions to get started:
- How many dependents do my employees have?
- Do my employees travel often for business or personal reasons?
- Do my employees need low-cost prescription options?
- Is maternity care important?
PPOs and HMOs – Two common insurance types
Once you have a good picture of what you and your employees need, you can determine which type of insurance to purchase. The two most common health insurance plans available are the Preferred Provider Organization and the Health Management Organization. PPOs usually offer more flexibility with doctors, but they come at a higher price than HMOs.
Additional insurance options
You may also want to research whether a high-deductible health plan paired with a Health Savings Account is a viable option for you and your employees. This combination allows you and your employees to set aside tax-free dollars to use for health care. However, out-of-pocket costs may be much higher until the deductible is fulfilled.
Choosing a plan
The better the health care plan you can provide to your employees, the more competitive you'll be in today's job market. Employees care more about health care now than they may have in the past, so offering the right kind of insurance at the right premiums could give you the edge when you're recruiting new talent.
Take the time to compare prices and look at the entire scope of the insurance coverage. Read the fine print and make sure you completely understand the pros and cons of each plan you're considering. Then, choose the best option for your business and rest easy knowing you're covered.
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