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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Small Businesses and Healthcare Costs: Ways to Save

Do you consider yourself a small business owner? Small businesses often struggle to afford sufficient health and dental benefits for their employees. The Affordable Care Act, which comes into full effect this year, includes an employer mandate, which means that any business with more than 50 employees needs to provide healthcare to their employees by January 1, 2015. If you fall into this business category, read on…

Healthcare costs can be expensive for small businesses. We’ve outlined some of the top tips for small business owners to consider when trying to lower their healthcare costs while providing medical care to their employees and their families. Also, while adult dental care is not a mandatory requirement with the ACA (see our related blog post here), a dental savings program such as Brighter can help curb dental costs!

163087806 Providing a high-deductible plan is one option for employers. High-deductible plans cost less for the employer, and encourage the employee to seek out and compare healthcare costs before they are incurred. There is a new trend towards price transparency in the healthcare market, and since employees will be initially paying more out-of-pocket for their healthcare costs, these high-deductible plans generally drive the patients to look for savings in advance.

Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) are also a consideration for cost-conscious small business owners. FSAs allow employees to set aside money from their own paychecks on a pre-tax basis for healthcare expenses. Small businesses can also band together and purchase group plans as a way to lower costs.

If you have less than 50 employees at your company, you are eligible to take advantage of the new SHOP program that is part of the ACA. SHOP, which stands for Small Business Health Option Program marketplace, is a way for small businesses to compare various healthcare plans up front and select their enrollment on a rolling monthly basis. Unlike individuals, small businesses that use SHOP can enroll throughout the year and select the plan that makes the most sense for their company.[1] In addition, if small businesses purchase insurance through SHOP, they can receive a 50% tax break on their healthcare expenses starting in 2014 (up from 35% previously). The SHOP program will provide competitive options and more transparent information for small businesses purchasing healthcare plans.

Another choice for small businesses to consider is to implement a corporate wellness program. Wellness programs can come in many forms, including preventative care such as flu shots, discounted gym memberships, and nutritional education programs. These types of programs can encourage employees to take care of their health before a major problem arises and can lower health costs in the long term.

Preventative care can also include dental care and regular teeth cleanings. If you cannot fit dental insurance into your healthcare budget, you can encourage preventative check ups (and significant savings) through our Brighter.com savings programs. Please call us today to learn more about how you can bring Brighter to your workplace. Small business owners have a variety of options to keep health and dental care affordable for their companies, and the changes toward cost transparency will benefit employers and employees in their healthcare planning.







[1] "Launching Small Business Health Option Program Marketplace, HHS Ramps Up Outreach, Education." High Country Press. HCPress.com, 27 Sept. 2013. Web. 27 Sept. 2013. <http://www.hcpress.com/news/launching-small-business-health-option-program-marketplace-hhs-ramps-up-outreach-education.html>.