Sunday, September 9, 2007

Health Insurance For Small Business Owners – Guaranteeing Protection

Finding health insurance for your small business or your sole proprietorship can be very difficult. We make a few recommendations about how to compare health insurance plans, save money and find adequate coverage.

Health insurance is a topic that never ceases to be discussed. The high cost of medical expenses will not let the topic die a comfortable death. There are a lot of people that have no health insurance and small business owners are in that number.

When every dollar counts, health insurance is one of the items that is frequently excluded from the budget of a small business. The owners just hope that nothing catastrophic happens until insurance can be budgeted.

The government and health insurance companies have been working for years to remedy that situation. As a result, a variety of health insurance plans are now available to fit any budget.

Robust Business

Insurance is formally defined as guaranteeing protection. That is what a small business owner needs – protection. Many small businesses are heavily dependent upon the owner remaining healthy.

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Employees need health insurance coverage also for their welfare and the welfare of the business. Maintaining a robust business means encouraging employees to care for their health. This is much more likely if they have health insurance.

Circular Logic

The options for health insurance have significant differences. The option chosen normally depends upon the cost of the plan and the level of coverage desired by the small business owner.

On the other hand, the actual level of employee utilization often determines annual cost for out of pocket expenditures. Following is a summary of the most common health insurance plans available for small business owners.

  • There is health insurance coverage purchased by the company that covers the owners and the employees. This is the traditional fee-for-service. The dollar amount covered for health costs are determined by the amount paid by the owner to a provider based on the number of employees included in the plan. More expensive plans will naturally have lower deductibles and copays.

  • In some states there are health insurance plans that cover the owner only. It is the perfect solution for small business owners, especially one with no employees except for the owner.

  • Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO’s) are private insurers who limit access by members to designated services and doctors. The cost efficiencies are derived the careful control kept on reimbursable expenses.

  • Insurance pools offer insurance to people considered high risk and that includes small business owners.

These are the major kinds of health insurance available to small business owners. Additional plans include a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) or Point-of-Service (POS).

Choosing Coverage That Won’t Disappoint

When choosing a health insurance for you or your business, it is important to understand the level of coverage desired so you don’t under or overspend. Insurance contracts have a lot of fine print and it can be distressing to discover services you thought you were paying for with the monthly premium are not covered.

  • If an HMO or PPO, make sure there are enough service providers in the area

  • Make sure that the plan covers high maintenance diseases such as diabetes if possible

  • Verify that the provider is reliable and pays its claims in a timely manner

  • Have a clear understanding of prescription coverage

  • Have a clear understanding of procedures that are excluded

  • Decide if you want to include dental and vision coverage

It is important to shop around for coverage even if it is to cover only one person. There are a lot companies entering the health insurance market that are not credible.

Medical costs can literally bankrupt you or an employee if coverage is inadequate. It is worth spending the time to study the options so that there are no disappointments later.

A great resource to compare health insurance plans and get the lowest prices available can be found at this website.

By Lynn VanDyke
Published: 1/11/2007

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