If you’re a small business owner, and you’re interested in offering health insurance and other benefits to your employees – whether you’re doing so for the first time or because you want to find out whether you can save by moving to a different health insurance plan – your first step should be to talk with a broker.
There are many benefits to using a health insurance and employee benefits broker in your review of options for your employees. The primary benefit is that using a broker can save you and your business money. Contrary to what you might think, the services of a broker don’t cost you anything. (Your broker earns a commission from the insurance company for each of the products sold.)
An experienced broker has the insurance and health care expertise – and the technology – to help you find an affordable employee benefits program for your business, while ensuring you and your employees have access to the doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers you want.
What can you expect to pay?
The good news is that it’s up to you. Working with your broker, you decide what amount you want to spend on your employees’ benefits – and the amount you select is locked-in for 12 months. (The only variable is if you hire new employees or someone drops coverage.) You can choose a fixed dollar amount or a fixed percentage of the costs of employees’ benefits.
For example, if you choose 50% of the lowest-cost health plan and the price for that coverage is $150 per month, your contribution would be $75 per month per employee. At renewal, you can adjust your premium contribution – up or down – so you continue to have full control over your company’s benefits budget for another 12 months.
If you choose a multi-carrier, employee-choice health insurance program like CaliforniaChoice and one of your employees selects a health plan that costs more than your contribution, he or she simply pays the difference. It’s that simple.
The process all starts with a census
To provide the most-accurate quote for you and your employees, your broker will ask you for information about everyone to be insured. (It’s up to you if you offer coverage for dependents. Some organizations offer insurance to all full-time employees and eligible spouses and/or dependent children. Others offer employee-only coverage.)
A Group Health Census form includes:
- Each employee’s name
- Date of birth
- Home ZIP Code
- Date of birth for spouse (if he or she is to be covered)
- Date of birth for each child (if he or she is to be covered)
Age and ZIP Code affect the cost of each employee’s coverage, so accuracy in the entry of information is critical. Effective this month, separate rates for children begin at age 15, although the cost for child’s coverage is limited to the first three children. (If an employee has five children, he or she only pays a separate premium for the first three children.)
Reasons to offer health coverage
There are many reasons small businesses choose to offer health insurance to employees. One is that it helps you compete more effectively in a tightening employment marketplace. (After all, you’re not just competing for talent with other small businesses; you’re recruiting against employers of every size, who may offer a diverse range of employee benefits.)
Another is that the premiums you pay toward your employees’ health insurance benefits are exempt from your company’s federal income tax and payroll taxes. Plus, it can reduce payroll taxes for your employees.
An added advantage of offering CaliforniaChoice is that it gives your employees the ability to choose from seven of the state’s leading health plans – and find coverage to match their individual or family health care needs. One employee might pick a PPO from Anthem Blue Cross because it includes his or her preferred doctor or hospital in the provider network. Another employee, who rarely visits the doctor, might choose an HMO from Kaiser Permanente or another insurance company. A third employee might choose an HSA-compatible plan from UnitedHealthcare because of its cost and tax advantages.
You can start the process for a new quote for your employees’ heatlh care by contacting your broker. Or, you can link here to begin the process. We’ll put you in touch with a CaliforniaChoice broker who can answer all of your questions about finding the right health care coverage for your employees.