As a small business owner, there’s probably been a time when you’ve wondered about employee health benefits. Specifically about when would be the best time to sponsor employee health benefits. Or even if you should sponsor benefits. Turns out, the answer is pretty straightforward. The best time to introduce employee health benefits is now. Waiting for the “right” time may mean waiting forever. In the meantime, you’ll miss out on some significant gains associated with sponsoring a plan.
Employee Benefits 101
If you’re a small business, it’s likely that you aren’t overly familiar with employee benefits and what they entail. In the past, an employee benefits plan used to be the exclusive domain of large corporations, with hundreds of employees. Times have changed. Companies of all sizes now offer employee benefits, and if you want to be competitive in the market, you should too.
So what types of employee benefits should you cover? The employee benefits you cover should depend on your goals for the plan, the demographics of your group, which benefits your employees want, and your budget.
The majority of employee health benefit plans cover:
- Extended health and dental – This is the most well-known employee benefit. Its hallmark is coverage for prescription drugs, but it typically also includes coverage for paramedical services (like chiropractors and physiotherapists) along with other miscellaneous health expenses. Coverage for dental services is usually also included in this category. Like most employee benefits, you can choose what is actually covered and what is not.
- Life insurance & Accident and Serious Illness (ASI) – These coverages are there for life’s most challenging times. Life insurance is fairly self-explanatory – a lump sum payment in the event of a death. Critical illness coverage is more comprehensive coverage than traditional accident and serious illness coverage. It provides a lump-sum payment for a life-altering or life-ending accident as well as if an employee is diagnosed with a covered critical illness.
- Disability – Disability benefits provide some income replacement for an employee who is disabled and unable to work. You can choose whether you cover short-, mid- or long-term disability benefits. You can also include disability management services to coordinate and oversee disability claims and return to work.
- Wellness – What was once considered a nice ‘extra,’ wellness has become a staple in employee benefit plans. Specifically, support and resources for mental health are now viewed as essential. Typically, an employee and family assistance plan (EFAP) provides wellness and mental health support benefits.
As a small business, your employees have likely been instrumental in the start-up and growth of your company. Now is the time to look at rounding out their compensation package to reward the employees that you already have.
You also have to focus on prospective employees that you will need to grow your business. An employee benefit plan is a “must-have” if you’re looking to attract, win and retain employees. It’s a competitive world out there, and if you’re not offering employee benefits, one of your competitors likely is.
In addition, an employee benefit plan can be a great tool to improve productivity and support your employees. Employees with access to benefits are healthier and happier; healthy and happy employees will work harder. It’s a win/win.
What will it cost?
An employee benefits plan is an investment. But it’s an investment that pays off. It pays off when recruiting and retaining employees. It pays off in productivity and it pays off when you’re protecting and nurturing your biggest asset: your employees. The return on investment is significant.
When it comes to cost, there are a lot of variables. The costs will depend on which benefits you cover. It will depend upon whether you pay for the full cost of the plan, or whether you share the cost with your employees.
It will also depend upon the provider you work with to deliver the benefits. You definitely want a provider that believes in creating a sustainable plan that can grow and change with your company. Incorporating cost containment is another important consideration that can have a very real impact on the cost of your plan. Do your due diligence so that there are no surprises when it comes to the cost of the plan.
Smart Plan for Small Business
At GroupHEALTH, we are very aware of the apprehension you may feel at sponsoring your first employee benefit plan. You want to provide good employees benefits, but as a small business, it would be unrealistic to pretend that cost isn’t an important consideration as well. This is why we created the Smart Plan for Small Business. The Smart Plan is a great starter plan that provides very good coverage for the most common benefits. It then takes it a step further and includes desirable benefits such as virtual healthcare and free short-term counselling. It’s flexible and configurable, so you can choose benefits that are right for your organization.
Good Advice is Key
Is now the best time to introduce employee health benefits to your company? Do you want to support employees, increase productivity and attract and retain talent? Review your options with one of our licensed advisors on the phone, or contact us for a comparison quote.
Whether you’re looking for extended health and dental coverage, disability coverage, or life and critical illness coverage, GroupHEALTH has affordable benefits packages that work as hard as you do.