Are you a new small business owner trying to figure out the health insurance market place?
Do you want to offer your employees affordable health insurance market place small business options?
Have you been researching your choices but aren’t quite sure where to start finding health insurance coverage for your employees?
Choosing a health insurance plan for yourself is difficult enough, but being responsible for choosing plans for all of your employees can be overwhelming.
Thankfully, the Affordable Care Act makes it easy for small businesses to take advantage of the health insurance market place.
Keep reading for health insurance market place small business requirements, plus how to choose and tips for choosing health insurance plans for your employees.
Health Insurance Market Place Small Business Requirements
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) created the Small Business Health Options Program or SHOP. This program allows small businesses to provide health and dental insurance to their employees at an affordable price.
There are two ways your small business can take advantage of the SHOP platform:
- Private insurance companies: While not necessarily an option for all small businesses, certain small businesses can sign up for SHOP insurance plans through private insurance companies.
- SHOP-registered agent or broker: A SHOP-registered agent or broker is the best way to find the health insurance market place small business plans for your employees.
There are a few other requirements and stipulations for using SHOP that you need to consider as well:
- Number of employees: SHOP was established to provide health insurance options for businesses with 1-50 full-time employees. Larger employers may still be able to access SHOP plans.
- Waiting periods: There is a maximum waiting period of 90 days, and insurance must be offered to all eligible employees after the waiting period expires.
- Employer Shared Responsibility Payment: Companies with more than 50 employees that don’t provide insurance may be subject to a penalty. Smaller employers are exempt.
If your small business wants to take advantage of the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit, you’ll need to enroll in a SHOP-based plan to get the premium reduction.
How to Choose Health Insurance Market Place Small Business Plans
When it comes to choosing health insurance market place small business plans, you need to take a few initial steps to make sure you’re getting the right coverage for your employees.
1. Survey Your Employees for Their Input
While it’s true that your employees will value having health insurance, you can increase that value by asking them for their input. Consider asking if they want multiple plan options, or if they’d like the option to pay more for better insurance.
Your employees will appreciate that you are taking their healthcare into account, and you will learn what you need to know to get the conversation started with an agent or broker.
2. Talk with a SHOP-registered Agent or Broker
Going directly through private insurance companies isn’t an option for everyone, and it may not be the best option for your small business anyway. A SHOP-registered insurance agent or broker can help you figure out what information you need to get the process going as quickly as possible.
An agent or broker can also help you figure out what health insurance options you’re going to offer – they can break down costs to both you and your employees.
3. Compare Insurance Plans Carefully
Once you’ve talked with a SHOP-registered agent or broker and have an idea of what level of coverage you want to provide to your employees, you’ll want to spend time carefully reviewing your insurance options. You’re not just comparing costs, but coverage limits, deductibles, and exclusions, too.
You’ll also want to provide your employees with any documentation they may need to make a decision about different plans that are offered. They may need as much help as you do.
Tips for Choosing Health Insurance Market Place Small Business Plans
Choosing health insurance market place small business plans is a weighty decision – it can feel like your employee’s healthcare is your responsibility. And to some extent, it is.
But choosing the right small business health insurance plan doesn’t have to be complicated. And it doesn’t have to take an enormous amount of time either.
Use these helpful tips to narrow down your health insurance market place small business plans:
- Consider out-of-pocket costs: Do you want to provide just the minimum essential coverage, or do you want to provide your employees with a comprehensive healthcare plan that will reduce their out-of-pocket costs?
- Offer at least two options: A common practice is to offer two plans with different deductibles. Employees can “buy up” to the lower deductible if they want, which will reduce their out-of-pocket costs for the year if something major comes up.
- Think about mental health coverage: Most SHOP plans cover basic things like preventative care and family planning but consider investing in a health insurance market place small business plan that has mental health coverage for your employees.
While it can seem like a lot to think about, good healthcare coverage is one of the most lucrative benefits to many of your employees. They will appreciate the extra effort you’re putting in.
Talk With a SHOP-Registered Agent or Broker Today
Getting health insurance situated is a big task, but it’s not something you have to do alone. A SHOP-registered insurance agent or broker can help you nail down the specifics of choosing a health insurance market place small business plan.
Not only can they help you get all of your documents in order to apply for coverage, but they can walk you through the details of each plan and help you figure out which plan is best for your employees.
And they may be able to help you talk to your employees about the coverage options you’re offering – this can be a crucial benefit if you don’t know the answers to your employee’s questions.
Need help figuring out your health insurance market place small business options? Talk with a SHOP-registered agent at Fiorella Insurance Agency to get the process started today.