Changes in healthcare are prompting many small business owners to rethink the role of employee benefits like health insurance at their companies. A Guardian Life Insurance study found that providing employees with affordable benefits will be a top concern for small businesses in 2019, yet a majority struggle to provide the healthcare they need. Healthcare costs can greatly impact the profitability of a small business, so benefits strategies must reflect a company’s needs, goals, and values. Below, we explored some of the top health insurance trends that will impact small businesses and how you can adapt in the ever-changing benefits landscape.
Small Business Health Insurance Trends
In order to stay competitive in an ever-tightening market, small business owners must develop savvy benefits strategies to attract and retain top talent. From trending workplace initiatives to federal regulation changes, here’s how small business healthcare is changing in 2019.
Add supplemental benefits
Healthcare alone isn’t going to cut it in 2019. Looking beyond healthcare, more small businesses are looking to add supplemental benefits like dental, vision, life, long-term care, accident, and disability. The Guardian study found that the number of small businesses offering access to supplemental health coverage has increased by 30 percent since 2015, a percentage that will surely rise over the next couple of years.
Supplemental insurance helps employees cover more specific needs. By offering supplemental benefits options, small businesses can increase job satisfaction and reduce workers’ compensation claims. A more robust benefits package can also help make your company more attractive to top performing employees and quality job candidates.
Focus on wellness
“Wellness” is no longer just a buzzword—it’s becoming a popular business initiative, with more employers offering workplace wellness programs than ever before. According to the Aflac Workforces Report, about half of the companies surveyed now sponsor workplace wellness programs, a 30 percent increase from 2012.
Wellness programs can not only help keep your employee’s physical and mental health in check but can also boost employee satisfaction and productivity. Many companies in Aflac’s report even said they were able to lower health insurance premiums as a result of their wellness program. Additionally, wellness programs can lower both the number and cost of claims for employers in the short- and long-term as employees become healthier.
Provide virtual care
Seeing a doctor in person can be inconvenient and costly when you factor in scheduling issues and co-pay fees. Many small businesses have found telemedicine, also referred to as telehealth and virtual care, to be a good solution. According to the National Business Group on Health, 56 percent of the companies surveyed currently offer telemedicine services to employees. By the year 2020, NBGH projects nearly all companies offering group health care plans will also provide telemedicine.
Telemedicine is a new form of healthcare that allows a patient to have a consultation with a medical provider via a computer, smart phone, or tablet. It’s an attractive benefit that allows patients to see a doctor around the clock, saving you and your employees time and money. In fact, insurance broker firm Willis Towers Watson found that employers could save up to $6 billion per year by providing telemedicine.
Utilize benefits technology
Small firms are increasingly looking to better utilize technology for help managing employee benefits. As the previously mentioned Guardian study found, nearly half of all small businesses are more digital than paper-based—a percentage that will continue to grow as more business owners realize the low cost and high potential.
Migrating benefits administration to a web-based portal offers a simpler and more efficient way for employers to manage their back office in one place. In addition to managing benefits, small businesses can look to digitize payroll, employee reviews, timekeeping, PTO requests, and company communication.
As a small business owner, you know your employees, business, and industry like the back of your hand, yet when it comes to federal regulations, you’re likely left scratching your head. After all, it can be challenging for small businesses to stay up to speed on regulations and the changes made to them each year.
This past year was no exception, as we saw a few legal changes to health insurance. Seven states, for example, enacted or passed paid family leave laws in 2018, and many more are pending. In 2019, we’ll also start to see many states looking to enact paid sick leave.
Apart from new laws, many small businesses fail to comply with existing laws. For example, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is now in its 26th year, yet small business owners are often unaware that it applies to both full- and part-time workers. Or, that the Americans with Disabilities Act and Amendments (ADAAA) applies to groups with 15 or more employees. There are hefty fines tied to these types of violations, so small business owners should strive to stay in compliance with federal regulations.
Managing healthcare is a timely chore for small business owners that takes them away from focusing on client relationships and workplace satisfaction. Perhaps that’s why so many small businesses have found that the best option is to outsource benefits management to a professional employer organization (PEO).
PEOs take on the responsibility of providing and managing things like health insurance, so employers can focus on growing their business. Not to mention, PEOs will also take on the regulatory liability of your employees, so small business owners can have better peace of mind. Working with a PEO also allows small business workers to gain access to big-business employee benefits like wellness programs and health, dental, life and other insurance offerings.
Get Small Business Healthcare
With each passing year, healthcare will only become more complex. Small business owners will need greater support to navigate the changes and develop benefits strategies.
Group Management Services provides group health insurance coverage, offering small business owners the best healthcare benefits at lower premium costs. We leverage our buying power through mass policies, so small businesses can purchase multiple policies like health, vision, dental and other types of supplemental insurance coverage. Additionally, GMS provides payroll and tax, human resources, and risk management services to further meet your small business needs.
Contact GMS today to talk with one of our experts about how you can offer quality healthcare plans at a lower cost.