The elimination of the employee mandate under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has changed the game for health insurance in 2019. Where does that leave small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) as we close in on the first quarter of the year? It leaves many of them wondering what to offer their employees moving forward.
Now is the time to start thinking about it, given that open enrollment starts again in the fall. Now is the time to learn more about your options in order to determine what’s best for your workers. To that end, here are the top five things SMBs should know about health insurance:
1. Workers Are Just As Confused
If you think your payroll and HR departments are confused by health insurance, consider your workers. They are equally confused. According to a recent Policy Genius survey, 96% of American workers don’t understand the most basic health insurance terms. They don’t know what deductibles are. They don’t understand co-pays, coinsurance, or out-of-pocket maximums.
This is an indication of two things. First, we have to do a better job of educating workers. Second, both healthcare and health insurance policies need to be simplified.
2. The Employer Mandate Still Exists
Though the employee mandate under the ACA was abolished at the start of 2019, the employer mandate is still in force. That means ACA compliance is still something your payroll department has to worry about. Don’t assume that the relaxed rules for your workers means your company is off the hook. It is not.
3. You Don’t Have To Choose from the Big 5
America’s ‘Big 5’ health insurance providers by volume are United Health Group, Anthem, Aetna, Humana, and CIGNA. Guess what? Your company’s health insurance options are not limited to these five providers. According to payroll and benefits administration provider BenefitMall, there are dozens of other options out there. You can shop around for better deals on health insurance just like you already do with liability insurance.
4. You Don’t Have To Administer Benefits Yourself
Along those same lines, companies like BenefitMall make it possible for you to offer health insurance benefits without having to worry about the hassles that come with administering said benefits. BenefitMall or a similar provider will administer them for you. You work with a consultant to figure out the best options for your workers, introduce those options to your staff, and then let the provider do the rest.
5. Health Insurance is a Valuable Recruiting Tool
The last thing every SMB should know about health insurance is that it acts as a valuable recruiting tool. Second only to salary, health insurance is something workers believe is critical to their overall compensation. If all other things are equal between multiple employers fighting for the same candidate, that candidate is going to choose the company offering the best health insurance package.
Why does this matter? Because the booming economy of the last two years has seen the number of open jobs sky rocket. Companies are hiring at a record pace and unemployment is at its lowest rate in a long time. That means companies like yours are locked in a tight competition for a limited number of workers. If you are not willing to compete with an attractive package of benefits, you’re going to lose the fight for top talent more often than you win.
The health insurance climate changed at the start of 2019. Has your company adapted? If not, it’s time to get moving. Every day you fail to adapt is another day you are falling behind.