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    38 Replies Latest reply on May 21, 2009 6:24 PM by luvmyjob10

    Healthcare benefit options for small businesses?

    Techie Wayfarer
      I own a pretty young company with a few employees. Now, that we've been profitable for a few years, my employees are now asking that I provide healthcare benefits for them. I have no idea what types of options are available for small businesses. I can't afford to lose my talent, but at the same time, I have no idea how expensive this all is. Any suggestions?
        • Re: Healthcare benefit options for small businesses?
          gmonkey Wayfarer
          While there are not a lot of options out there, I have found the SBA to be a good source of information thus far. I found this page on their website and poked around a bit. It may be helpful to you.


          • Re: Healthcare benefit options for small businesses?
            NetworkGuru Wayfarer

            Yiou might want to call a healthcare provider in your area, or a larger company like Blue Cross Blue Shield. They have people waiting to sell your business their health plan benefits. They will be able to give you pricing and options.
            • Re: Healthcare benefit options for small businesses?
              NetworkGuru Wayfarer

              Don't know if you still needing an answer... I just selected Aetna as my business healthcare provider. My final decision to use them was made because they are a larger company, with many plans, and I can manage it all myself from their website.

              What helped me select from the many in my area was I entered what I was looking for, my employee information, and it provided me with all the options and pricing.
                • Re: Healthcare benefit options for small businesses?
                  cognitive77 Newbie
                  I can second the Aetna route. Did some digging online because I didn't have time to sit down, look through the phone book and call 5 local brokers. That, and the majority of the brokers in my area don't typically deal with small business's.

                  This may or may not help you budget, but my business has 3 full time employees including myself. We also insured other members of the families including a baby. We had several pre-existing conditions and we pay approx. $1200 a month. This was also for the best plan Aetna could offer. They also provide dental and vision that you can add on.
                • Re: Healthcare benefit options for small businesses?
                  score81 Adventurer

                  There are number of choices available for you.

                  1. First thing you need to find if your type business has any association. Contact them and see if they are offering any type of insurance program
                  2. Contact local chamber of commerce and ask them if they areoffering any type of insurance program. Most do and get the program.
                  3. Check the local insurance broker and see what type of program are being offered for your small company.
                  4. Check directly from Kaiser, Blue shield and other and get the program offered for small businesses.
                  5. Contact other local association which offers health care program and you can be member of them. gettheir programs.

                  Now you have enoughdata to decide what program is best for you and your company.
                  • Re: Healthcare benefit options for small businesses?
                    LUCKIEST Guide
                    Healthcare is expensive and as you said you want to keep your talent.
                    You have been in business for a few years.
                    Do you have an Accountant??
                    Do you have cash flow and profit projections?? (on a spread sheet you can
                    see what heath care benefits will do to the bottom line)
                    A final thought might be for the company to pay a part (like half) of the healthcare in the
                    beginning and the employees part. Great goodwill.
                    • Re: Healthcare benefit options for small businesses?
                      StratfordFG Newbie

                      The best option for small businesses, especially those who did not currently have a plan in place would be a HDHP (High Deductible Health Plan) or Deductible First Insurance linked with an employer funded HRA (Health Reimbursement Arrangement or HSA (Health Savings Account). For small businesses starting a plan, the HDHP with an HSA would probably work best as it can sucsessfully and sustainably provide:

                      -a robust benefits program at reasonable premiums
                      -level premiums (premiums would trend or increase only 3% a year - approx.)
                      -you can fund employees' HSA accounts to provide them the money to fund the deductible or save for future medical expenses or retirement (many employers see this as a way to maitain thier employee talent)

                      To learn more:
                      1. Watch the Whole Foods segment of John Stoessel's report, Sick in America at
                      2. Check out my book on the topic - Stop Buying Health Plans and Start Buting Health Insurance - available on at


                      • Re: Healthcare benefit options for small businesses?
                        DrMatt Newbie
                        The best health benefit for your money that you can offer is a combination of high deductible

                        health insurance with a consumer driven first-dollar coverage plan. Email me if you need details

                        of the companies that offer such products. Also, you should buy dental and vision coverage

                        separately for best value.
                        • Re: Healthcare benefit options for small businesses?
                          erinoir Newbie
                          As the other posters said, it can be difficult to find an affordable plan to offer your employees. You might consider alternatives, such as a company matching flex spending account for medical and dental care.

                          My business is helping small to medium sized businesses offer benefit plans to their employees, so I'd be happy to help you out. However, I am new to this community and want to respect the guildelines, so I'll have to ask you to contact me via my profile information if you are interested.

                          Good luck with your search!

                          • Erin
                          • Re: Healthcare benefit options for small businesses?
                            TinMan Newbie

                            Network Guru gave you the best advice. Many small businesses I work with have asked about Healthcare and I always recommend they use Here you have access to over 160 vendors online and you have the ability to compare offerings/prices side-by-side to get the best bang for your buck.

                            I think this is a big need out there for many small business owners. Please let us know how it turns out.

                            TinMan - Houston, TX
                            • Re: Healthcare benefit options for small businesses?
                              BDS INC Adventurer
                              Blue Cross has a new program for small business owners where you can customize your options. They give pretty reasonable rates as well.
                              • Re: Healthcare benefit options for small businesses?
                                AZ-agent Newbie
                                I am a health agent in AZ, but I can sell anywhere in the U.S.
                                To be honest,. AETNA is not very good with their benefits, and Blue Cross is very expensive.

                                I have access to 14 companies, and can get the best benefits for the cheapest price.

                                Now I reccomend getting a plan with a high deductible, along with a HSA (health savings account) it is NOT a FLEX account,
                                As an employer, you get a $1500 deductible, place half of that deductible in the savings account (which makes a very good interest rate) or how ever much you as the employer wants to contrubute to the savings account.

                                The client still has the normal Co-Pay and prescription sbenefits, the deductible is usually only for something major, so if the client has nothing major, every year you put that amount into the savings account and it adds up.

                                Really, how many people use the major medical portion of the policy.
                                • Re: Healthcare benefit options for small businesses?
                                  Sunkist Newbie
                                  Depending on how much you love your people. Average family plan costs 16,000. and 9,500 for individuals. It's around those areas. Alot of businesses can not retain talent due to fringe. If you can afford it, it's a must have for most employees.

                                  Most businesses share the costs 10/90 (large companies) 15/85 (small companies) and 25/75.

                                  Another thing to look at is the HSAs and FSAs as well. There are also different health programs sponsored by different states that you are in. Some states actually require Small Businesses to insure their employees if they have a x number of employees. Some even offer assistance in getting group coverage!
                                  • Re: Healthcare benefit options for small businesses?
                                    nishantk Newbie

                                    In addition to healthcare benefits, there are other benefits which will help you to keep your Talented Employees feel proud of their job and employer.

                                    Check the link:
                                      • Re: Healthcare benefit options for small businesses?
                                        mainstreetifs Wayfarer
                                        Small business owners that don't want to deal with the hassle of benefits, HR issues, workers comp, 401K administration etc should look into employee leasing companies. Don't get this confused with staffing companies. Employee leasing companies like Administaff, ADP TotalSource, Gevity and Barrett Business Services can offer fortune 500 type benefits to small business owners without the headache of dealing with these issues. These services are not for everybody but they are very attractive for some business owners.
                                      • Re: Healthcare benefit options for small businesses?
                                        LUCKIEST Guide
                                        Does this help, LUCKIEST

                                        h3. Health Savings Accounts

                                        Created in January 2004 as part of the Medicare prescription reform
                                        law, health savings accounts (HSAs) are sometimes referred to as
                                        medical IRAs. These plans are increasingly popular and, according to a
                                        May 2005 study by American Health Insurance Plans, more than one
                                        million people are now covered under HSA-based health plans.Many
                                        insurance companies, local banks, as well as specialized administrators
                                        offer HSAs, but be advised, the fees charged to run these plans vary
                                        widely. For an online list of the top ten most affordable providers, go

                                        How do they work?
                                        Like IRAs, individuals contribute pre-tax dollars into accounts that
                                        are tied to a wide range of investment vehicles (savings accounts,
                                        mutual funds or, in some cases, stocks). These accounts can accrue
                                        interest and roll over any unused balances to the next year, unlike
                                        standard Section 125 or “cafeteria” medical benefits plans. These funds
                                        can be withdrawn from the HSA at any time, without penalty, to pay for
                                        legitimate medical expenses not typically covered by the insurer, such
                                        as office visit and prescription drug co-payments, vision expenses, and
                                        dental work. To see a list of federally approved expenses, go to

                                        An important note: HSAs can only be used in conjunction with
                                        health-insurance policies that have steep annual deductibles—between
                                        $1,000 and $5,000 for individuals, or $2,000 and $10,000 for
                                        families—but these plans typically cover 100% of expenses once this
                                        limit has been met.
                                          • Re: Healthcare benefit options for small businesses?
                                            Lighthouse24 Ranger

                                            Luckiest, high-deductible major medical coverage with an HSA is what I provide for my employees. I think it's the best solution for us, but I'd suggest that any business owner considering it be aware that it's a cost management challenge. The premiums escalate rapidly (zero claims, and yet our premiums had doubled after a year) -- so you have to periodically shop for a new provider if you want to keep the cost down. Of course, changing providers means you may change the provider network that serves your employees (i.e., they'll have to change doctors, pharmacies, etc.) which is understandably upsetting.

                                            Being a small business, I make it a point to not to make that decision myself, but rather facilitate the EMPLOYEES making the decision (increase the deductible, increase the co-pay, pay a portion of the higher premium themselves, or change providers).

                                            I agree that providing health care coverage is a key benefit, but it is a VERY expensive one. I think employees appreciate that more and can see that real value of what you're offering them (instead of complaining about what's wrong with the coverage) if they're aware of the whole picture and making the choices themselves. Larger firms can afford to offer better plans that we do, yet all their employees do it complain (I have one client where the union workers went on strike because in the new contract proposal, the company wanted them to kick in $12 a month to help pay for a zero deductible, full coverage plan for their families -- we should all be so lucky!).
                                              • Re: Healthcare benefit options for small businesses?
                                                mainstreetifs Wayfarer

                                                Good call on letting employees choose their coverage. In California there is a provider called CA Choice which will allow the employer to pick a plan they are willing to fully fund and if employees are not happy with it, they can choose their own plan but pay the difference. This program really cuts down on complaints to your HR people. If an employee wants a certain plan they can have it but I find most employees are fine with a HMO plan if they are the ones funding the difference. Most employees have no idea how expensive health insurance really is.

                                                I can also relate to your story about unions. I saved a local firefighters district $300k per year (our tax dollars) on their premiums and actually improved their network but their office copay went up from $5-$10. The union went ballistic and accused me of being unamerican in the wake of 9/11... LOL.. I was fired the next year and they placed their coverage with Aetna direct for $400k more but with $0 office copay. That is what I get for trying to save the fire district some money.
                                                  • Re: Healthcare benefit options for small businesses?
                                                    Concerns Newbie
                                                    I personally like the copay options of group plans rather than the HSA plans even if the deductible is higher w/ the copay. Having said that, the copay benefits of small group plans vary from state to state and policy to policy even w/in the same company. I love the small group health insurance plans w/ copay benefit richest plans. This way emergency visits can be covered w/ copay only, doctors' office surgery and lab/x-ray can be covered w/ doctors' office copay. The deductible and any-coinsurance applies to hospitalization and/or perhaps major services done outside of doctor's office w/ such plans...again plans vary from state to state so talk to your local independent broker or make phone calls to various providers....also there're HSA plans that have rate guarantee of up to three years and most providers allow you to offer dual options to your group...agai each stat mandates its own policy so the options and benefits can differ from one state to another....
                                              • Re: Healthcare benefit options for small businesses?
                                                CA-Ins-Finder Newbie
                                                Yes, you can offer benefits to any W2 employees. The good news is that the carriers are now offering different levels of coverage to meet small business's budgets. There are plans like HSA plans that are just catastrophic. Then there are plans with generic only Rx and limited office coverage. Some plans even package dental/vision.
                                                The more benefits that are added to the policy the higher the price goes. Please feel free to go to our web site for quotes and information and I will be in the office tomorrow. You reach us at 877-840-0554 and ask for Don
                                                • Re: Healthcare benefit options for small businesses?
                                                  jeffriesjn Newbie

                                                  The best solution is to work with an insurance broker who knows the area and industry. As a small business their services are usually free to you as they are paid by the insurance carriers they work with. My company provides employee benefit and HR consulting. Depending on which state you are located I could assist or refer you to someone in your area who could help. Feel free to touch base with me at or
                                                  • Re: Healthcare benefit options for small businesses?
                                                    Anthony Newbie
                                                    Hello Techie-

                                                    I work for a company called IAB (International Association of Benefits). My company offers insured benefits through a group blanket policy for its members. IAB has been in business since 1982. These are insured benefits. These can be used at any doctor, dentist or hospital. There are also discounted benefits through the Beech Street network. The plans range in price from $69.95 for the entire family up to $273.95. My company is very ideal for small business owners like yourself to offer employee benefits at a very affordable price. For more information, please visit:

                                                    I can be reached at: (845) 427-7100

                                                    Thanks and good luck!

                                                    Anthony Viglietta
                                                    • Re: Healthcare benefit options for small businesses?
                                                      FFCFFC Newbie

                                                      Just vote for single-payer healthcare.

                                                      It is:

                                                      publicly financed
                                                      privately provided - choose any doctor you like

                                             and we have national groups also.
                                                      • Re: Healthcare benefit options for small businesses?
                                                        Vince Adventurer
                                                        If you're still wondering about health care benefits, Aetna will be joining the SBOC on Tuesday February 10th @ 2PM EST. I encourage you and all that are on this thread to pose your questions/concerns to them. How often does this opportunity come up?

                                                        Check it out - Event: Health care benefits for your small biz

                                                        • Re: Healthcare benefit options for small businesses?
                                                          cynthia58 Newbie
                                                          I am a broker, CDC Employee Benefits, Inc., and can certainly help you design a plan for your employees.
                                                          If you are interested, please contact me at or 732-730-0014. I have been
                                                          catering to small groups for several years and can certainly provide references. There is no fees for
                                                          getting quotes. You will be under no obligation.
                                                          • Re: Healthcare benefit options for small businesses?
                                                            HealthLifeAGT Wayfarer
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                                                            • Re: Healthcare benefit options for small businesses?
                                                              goosby Wayfarer
                                                              Hi, my name is vicki and my business is to help small businessess and individual people to enroll in my health benefits company. I have an website you can look at also and I will give some information on my benefits that we offer. We offer a wide range of services and products, including dental services, prescription drugs, vision care, chiropractic procedures. Dental Plus (Individual) $14.95, Dental Plus $19.95, Basic Health $29.95, Total Health $39.95, Total Health Plus $59.95 all cover your entire household 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed.

                                                              There are no limits on visits or services
                                                              Ongoing dental problems are accepted
                                                              Instant savings
                                                              No age limit
                                                              No paperwork
                                                              No waiting period
                                                              Orthodontics (braces) and cosmetic dentistry included
                                                              Specialists included, where available you can change dentists.

                                                              • Re: Healthcare benefit options for small businesses?
                                                                curadebt Newbie
                                                                Yes, employees take advantages of such facilities from the company. You can offer 5% of basi pay to them as medical allowance.
                                                                • Re: Healthcare benefit options for small businesses?
                                                                  goosby Wayfarer
                                                                  I have an affordable healthcare benefit plan for your business. Have you heard of Ameriplan. Here is my website Let's talk business call me at 414-535-0177. Good Luck !
                                                                  • Re: Healthcare benefit options for small businesses?
                                                                    luvmyjob10 Newbie
                                                                    Hey Techie, My name is Stephanie Melo and im a Benefits Specialist for AmeriPlan. I believe i have a great solution to your problem and dont forget this is common. I have encountered many people wondering what to do as well.

                                                                    AmeriPlan is the largest discounted organization in the nation. We offer 4 different benefit packages for individuals, families or groups (employees). One of the many good reasons about joining AmeriPlan is that no one needs to fill out any forms with health history, everyone is accepted. AmeriPlan is becoming extremely popular as its a great way to help your employees and also save you BIG bucks.

                                                                    If you have any questions, feel free to email me at
                                                                    I look forward to helping you out :)

                                                                    Stephanie Melo
                                                                    Independant Business Owner
                                                                    Benefits Specialist