A Healthy Choice
Health plans are the top benefit choice among employees.
Gross domestic product at 2% to 3%, check.
Unemployment around 4%, check.
Little inflation or deflation, check.
And now that the economy is humming along at a statistically healthy rate, businesses are looking to attract and keep the best employees to help them make the most of it. But at the same time, as recession pay freezes begin to thaw, employees can see data which show that a job change can lead to a significant raise in salary – more than one could expect from a current employer. Not to worry, however: A recent Glassdoor Employment Confidence Survey showed 79% of employees would prefer new or additional benefits to a pay increase. Add to that, 57% said benefits and perks were among top considerations for accepting a job.
Health Benefits at Top of the Benefit List
Of the myriad benefits a company can offer – from retirement plans to commuter compensation – healthcare remains the top pick at 40%. A close second is paid time off at 37%, followed by a performance bonus at 35%.
Though law requires each individual to have health insurance (the newly enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act doesn’t reduce the individual insurance mandate penalty for going uncovered to zero until 2019, consult your tax professional), it is also good to have in case of ill-ness or accident. Offering affordable healthcare benefits provides a way for everyone – including your business – to remain compliant with necessary coverage. Healthy workers are also more produc-tive workers, and when employees have health insurance in place, they worry less about healthcare access for themselves and their families and are able to focus more on business.
Explore the Possibilities
Other affordable health insurance options include the Small Busi-ness Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace (if you have fewer than 50 employees), individual health insurance, or a private health exchange.
While these are viable alternatives to traditional company-sponsored group health insurance, the most affordable is usually individual health insurance that can cost 20% to 60% less than group health insurance. And this is where an opportunity may exist – through a Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA), the employer* can set aside equal amounts of money for each employee that can be used tax free to pay health insurance pre-miums or other medical expenses. This strategy helps keep more money in the pockets of workers and in the business.
There are many health insurance providers and agents who can help tailor a solution for your business based on number of employees. And certainly, your advisor is also a good resource for advice and professional referrals since other clients are most likely in your situation, too.
*The employer must have fewer than 50 employees, the same terms must be offered to all eligible employees, the employer must put the same amount away for each employee, the amount set aside per employee cannot exceed $4,950 for a single employee, $10,000 for a family plan.