According to a recent report from the National Small Business Association, “health care costs increasingly are one of the most significant challenges to the future growth and survival of small business.”
Bryan Palmer, National Practice Lead for Small Business at UnitedHealthcare, says small-business owners want to know how best to take care of their employees while building a healthy business.
“Many small-business owners view employees like family members, so that strong relationship influences business decisions because the employer wants to do right for their small-business family,” said Palmer. “By offering health benefits to their employees, employers enjoy higher rates of employee retention and satisfaction.”
Palmer says small-business owners can make good health insurance decisions by following these tips:
- Choose a health plan that provides you and your employees with multiple choices. Not all businesses and workforces are the same, so the one-size-fits all approach isn’t the best solution for a small business. Instead, ask for a plan that offers various employer cost points and plan designs with different premiums, deductibles, co-insurance and out-of-pocket maximums. You want a health care solution that helps meet your employees’ diverse health and financial needs.
- Look for simple administration and a better experience. Technology is helping solve customer service pain points. For example, some health plans have improved their customer service by simplifying the onboarding experience to alleviate administrative hassle when changing group benefit plans. Employees are seeing improvements as well; some health plans offer digital tools such as video explanation of benefits and apps that locate doctors and compare costs.
- Encourage employee engagement and cost management by offering a Health Savings Account. A consumer-driven health plan such as a Health Savings Account (HSA) is designed to encourage employees to share more responsibility for how health care dollars are spent. An HSA is funded by employees with pre-tax dollars, with an option for employers to contribute.
- Research care provider networks. Choose a health plan that will enable your employees to keep their current doctors. Also, check if the health plan includes 24/7 telehealth services. Virtual visits provide convenient and cost-effective access to care for certain medical issues, including allergies, bronchitis and seasonal flu.
- Ask about wellness programs. Some health plans offer small-business benefit plans that provide financial incentives for employees who sign up for health coaching programs, meet walking goals, go to a gym or lose weight. UnitedHealthcare offers Real Appeal, an online weight-loss program that uses personal coaches and offers convenient tracking tools that motivate people to adopt healthier behaviors, which can help reduce obesity-related conditions such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Small-business owners seeking more information about health insurance options can visit UHC.com.