Employee health benefits for small businesses need to be as competitive as plans for large businesses – but they also need to address the unique needs of smaller (and newer) organizations. For example, the costs of providing for employees may be felt more directly on the bottom line at a small business. Plus, relationships between small business owners and their employees can feel much more personal – which makes the impact of poor benefits experience more personal, too.[/caption]
At GroupHEALTH, our benefits strategy focuses on making benefits plans affordable, configurable, and usable for small businesses. Getting each of these right ensures that small business owners are getting better value from their benefits plan, and allows them to focus on their business, not on their benefits.
Building Affordability Into Small Business Benefit Plans
Value of coverage will be a primary consideration for small business owners. If this is the first plan for a small business, they may not know how much a plan will cost – and how the cost will impact their bottom line every year.
Ultimately, the cost of a benefits plan will depend on how the plan is used, which is why cost containment needs to be “baked into” benefits plans. This helps businesses avoid the all-too-common cost roller coaster of poorly designed plans. Common strategies to contain employee benefit plan costs include:
Health Spending Accounts
These popular accounts allow small business owners to set a per employee maximum while allowing employees to decide how their benefit dollars are spent. The small business pays for only the amount their employees use and retain the left-over balance, which can often be as much as 20-30%.
SmartRx Prescription Drug Coverage
Prescription drug coverage is one of the most expensive portions of traditional benefit plans. GroupHEALTH’s SmartRx options allow small business owners to tailor the design of their drug coverage to encourage employees to use lower cost (but equally) effective alternatives.
Disability Coverage with DMI Assist
Disability claims can have a particularly compounding effect on small businesses: not only is the absence of an employee felt more keenly, but a disability claim can drive benefit plan costs up. Services like GroupHEALTH’s built-in DMI assist help small business owners manage potentially costly disability claims and focus efforts on returning employees to work quickly and safely.
Configuring Small Business Benefits Plans for Each Small Business
Because employee health benefit plans can be confusing to small business owners, they’ll often choose to purchase a cookie-cutter plan that may not be a good fit for their business. But benefit plans are rarely one-size-fits-all – and the danger of a cookie-cutter benefits plan is that small business owner may end up over-paying for coverage their employees don’t need or want.
GroupHEALTH has a different approach to small business plan design. The key to configuring a plan for small business is to identify what business owners and their employees need and want, and then to find the right options for them. Even our “entry level” plans, like Evolve for Small Business, give small business owners easy-to-understand coverage and price options.
Configuring coverages can be simple: it includes supplying some basic employee information that every small business owner will know and then answering some simple questions about the type of coverage needed.
At GroupHEALTH, virtually every part of a plan – and even coverages themselves – can be configured for a small business. This doesn’t mean drowning a business owner in detail. Instead, a small-business benefit plan expert will work with business owners to quickly and easily identify what’s important to them, and will then propose plan design options that give business owners choice and clarity.
Making Small Business Benefits Plans Usable
A benefits plan for small business owners should be easy to understand (to allow small business owners to make decisions confidently); easy to administer (to let business owners focus on their business, not their benefits); and easy to change (to let the benefits plan grow with the business).
A benefits advisor should be clear about what coverages a small business owner is purchasing – and why. This means understanding simple concepts like the four most common types of employee health benefits; the levels of coverage within those types; and how employees will be expected to use each benefit. This doesn’t need to be a technical conversation – small business owners should come away knowing the essential structure of their plan, but also how to get more detailed information when they need to dive deeper.
Administering a small business benefits plan also needs to be simple. Small business owners should use online administrative tools to add or remove employees, make inquiries or update employee information. Plus, they should be able to access experts quickly. Paperwork should be kept to a minimum. At GroupHEALTH, we even give businesses a credit for reducing their paperwork! This level of administrative ease is essential to keep plan overhead to a minimum.
Employees, too, should have an easy experience. Pay Direct and mobile claims make interacting with plans easy – they’re built into services like myGroupHEALTH. Employees can access and update personal information anytime, anywhere on their phone or computers – without having to go through the small business owner.