medical-563427_640To many small business owners, the Affordable Care Act can cause a lot of confusion. Evaluating policies yourself can be tricky, while hiring an insurance broker might be an expense you can’t afford. So, what can you do to find the best policy?

If you have less than 50 full-time employees, then your options are a little more clear. Small companies can find the healthcare coverage they want and this guide is here to prove that. Consider these options before making a final decision on an insurer.

Individual Health Insurance

This is one of the more simple approaches, but not without great results. Your employees would purchase their own individual coverage from brokers or marketplaces. That means any carrier or policy is available to them.

Allowances can be allocated by family status, and groups that want to contribute to the employee’s premium can do so through an HRA. This is often the most cost effective approach for small groups as they can contribute any amount under federally defined limits.

Brokers can help set up the HRA with software, sell these individual policies, and even be a consultant for the small group.

SHOP Marketplace

SHOP Marketplaces are state or federally run public exchanges that sell insurance policies to smaller organizations. This could be an excellent option if you have less than 50 employees and meet a specific set of requirements. These vary state by state, usually revolving around how much of the premium your business will need to contribute.

This marketplace also offers business tax credit breaks with their highly affordable coverage plans.

Private Health Exchange

This has been a growing option amongst smaller groups where employees can use a set contribution towards a variety of plans. These could include startups to leading insurance companies, and allow your workers to choose what they want. Companies like Walgreens are choosing this plan for the flexibility it provides to their workers.

Co-Op

A Co-Op is the more traditional route that many small business take. It increases buying power and spreads any risks to a larger group. Each one is constructed differently, so make sure to thoroughly examine the policies they offer in order to offer your employees the coverage they need.

Private Small Group Plans

Small businesses can still choose to purchase a private small group plan if they would like. They tend to offer more options from a variety of carriers, sometimes more than even the SHOP Marketplace can provide depending on the state.

Things to Consider

It is important to provide enough health care coverage to take care of your employees when they need it. Creating a checklist of what your employees need and what you would like the insurer you choose to cover can help you narrow down the numerous policies on the market.

Consider extras like dental, maternity leave, or accidental coverage if they are within your budget. These extras are incredibly appealing to potential employees and help to keep your existing hard workers around for a longer period of time.

Choosing the Best Health Care Plan

There is a misconception that small business either have a hard time providing quality health insurance for their employees or that they have to pay astronomical prices just to provide minimum coverage. In reality, small companies can find the health care coverage they want.

By better understanding the options available to you and your employees, you can make the best decision when it comes to providing health care policies that will benefit your employees at an affordable price, all while staying in the Affordable Care Act requirements.

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