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The True Cost Of Small Business Group Health Insurance

What is Group Health Insurance?

Group Health Insurance is a selected plan that provides health care to a predetermined, select group of people. These health insurance plans are generally uniform in policy offering the same health care coverage to all employees or members of the group.

Is Group Health Insurance a Good Investment For My Small Business?

The answer to that is in short: No.

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Posted by lschultz in Health Insurance, Small Business

Goodbye Employer Provided Health Insurance

health insuranceAn article from Market Watch highlights Rick Lindquist and Paul Zane Pilzer, co-authors of “The End of Employer-Provided Health Insurance.” The book goes over why group health insurance is a thing of the past and why individuals, their families, and their employers are all benefiting from moving away from group health insurance options.

Group health insurance rates continue to rise and that’s where Zane Benefits steps in. Zane Benefits is not a health insurance company, but a company that administers defined-contribution plans. What is that you might be asking? It is a benefit plan that gives employees a set amount of money each month that they can use for reimbursement of their health insurance premiums. This plan allows employees to have choice in selecting their health insurance plan. The employer is removed from the selection and allows the employee to shop for an insurance plan that custom fits them and their family.

In Lindquist and Pilzer’s book they project that by 2017, the majority of small businesses will switch to defined-contribution. This shift is being led by small business owners, but they aren’t the only ones dropping health insurance and looking for other options. Verizon and AT&T leaked documents saying they were considering dropping health insurance plans as well.

With the potential savings benefit of this plan why wouldn’t all companies choose this option. Well simply said, you don’t know what you don’t know. Companies don’t understand how a defined-contribution plan could benefit them, not only savings on the part of the employer and the employee, but also helps employee retention as well. What employee wouldn’t want to choose their own health insurance rather than have somebody choose for them?

Read the full Market Watch article HERE and let me know if this is an option you would look into for your company!

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Posted by Lauren Yeager in All Posts, Health Insurance, Small Business and tagged , , , , ,

What is Zane Benefits?

Zane BenefitsHere at Design Health we partner with a company called Zane Benefits. As we continue to look at and promote small businesses I wanted to introduce you to one that is on the cutting edge of what healthcare is and will be. As group health insurance fades away you will see Zane Benefits name more and more often. What’s so innovative and great about this company and who are they? Let me tell you with their own introduction from their website, “Zane Benefits is the leader in individual health insurance reimbursement for small businesses. Since 2006, Zane Benefits has been on a mission to bring the benefits of individual health insurance to business owners and their employees.”

This company enables companies to save 20 to 60 percent annually compared to traditional employer-provided health insurance. That’s significant as the cost of group health keeps rising. How do they do that? Instead of companies providing a one size fits all plan to their employees and compensating them for all or a portion of the premium employees are now able to find insurance that fits their needs and cost on their own. Once the employee has chosen the plan that is best for them their company works with Zane Benefits to set up monthly healthcare allowances for each employee. The employee then supplies documentation to Zane Benefits to prove the healthcare they purchased is in compliance and once all documentation checks out the employee receives the reimbursement amount set by the company up to the full amount of the employees premium.

This is such a simple concept and one that is being embraced by many employers around the country. As a small business owner do you want your employees to have more choice as well as lessen the weight of rising group health costs on your back? It’s a new way of doing things and it’s better to be on the cutting edge of change rather than straggling in the door behind the curve. We are happy to speak to you about your options as a company. Let us know if you have any questions, and in the meantime check out Zane Benefits HERE


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Posted by Lauren Yeager in All Posts, Small Business and tagged , , , ,

Good Decisions For Small Business Healthcare

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) a small business above 50 employees is required to provide healthcare for healthcaretheir employees. These companies that have 50 or more full-time employees must provide health insurance to 95% of their employees and dependents up to age 26 or risk paying a tax penalty of $2,000 per full-time employee. An article on Forbes says, “many small businesses still do provide health care for their employees, either out of a sense of responsibility or out of a desire to attract quality candidates (or both).” Although, depending on how those plans are paid for you could run into some trouble.

Kelly Phillips Erb a writer for Forbes goes over ways to make the best choices as a small business to avoid that trouble. She states, “If it doesn’t make good fiscal sense for you to provide health insurance coverage for your employees, or if the coverage you do provide is less than ideal, consider setting up an additional health benefits plan. A Section 105 plan…allows tax-free reimbursements for expenses.”  She also goes on later to recommend using a broker and lists the benefits.

The biggest issue is that companies aren’t informed of their options and there ARE options. It is no longer just the black and white opt in or opt out group plans available to businesses. As a company are you informed of the different options available to you? Is your current situation still affordable? Let me know and in the meantime look at the recommendations from Kelly’s article on Forbes HERE

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Posted by Lauren Yeager in All Posts, Health Insurance, Small Business and tagged , , , ,

Small Business Work Relationships

Business peopleEveryone wants good and healthy work relationships, but do you know how to cultivate and obtain those? There are books upon books of how to develop relationships within business partnerships, or even personal relationships outside of the workplace, but move inside of the workplace and it’s a subject that often gets pushed under the rug. There is a great article from the Houston Chronicle online that addresses just that. The article goes through a six step process, and I’ll touch on each of those.

Step 1 urges leadership to create a “clear and concise company mission statement.” As an employee it is important to understand what your companies mission statement is and to embrace it. For a true understanding of your purpose in the company then know what the mission is and take ownership in it.

Step 2 encourages teamwork. When you are part of a team you feel as if you belong and believing in what you do comes easily. Teamwork helps bond closer relationships between employees and supervisors creating more of a level playing field without the superiority feeling. University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences found that respect and trust among co-workers and between supervisors and staff leads to greater collaboration, innovation and efficiency in the workplace.

Step 3 says to communicate group expectations. With expectation employees have an ability to measure their work against the expectations given. This allows for self-motivated goals to be set within the ones given by leadership.

Step 4 promotes goal setting for employees. When goals are set employees tend to want to achieve those goals. Many people are competitive by nature and setting goals and deadlines lets employees strive for the finish line.

Step 5 gives the idea of rewarding employees for a job well done or addressing issues quickly. People like to know that they are doing a good job or like constructive criticism to help them do their job better. When edification is received the desire to achieve is heightened.

Each of these items constitutes structure, but not overwhelming micromanagement. When employees are able to cultivate their relationships with each other and supervisors freely then the work environment stays a happy place to be a part of. Try to have a group outing where employees can get to know each other on a more personal level away from work. How do you think your company does on maintaining and cultivating work relationships?

Read the full article from the Houston Chronicle HERE

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Posted by Lauren Yeager in All Posts, Small Business and tagged , , , ,

Workplace Home Away From Home

How often do you find yourself looking around your office wondering how you can make it a bit better? My creative mind started thinking of ways to decorate. Many offices these days are cubicles and there’s not much you can do with them…so I thought. My google intrigue caught me by surprise with some of the things that people have come up with to better their work space.

All of this surrounds office culture and what you are trying to cultivate. Here at Design Health we protect our culture at all costs, and it makes for good laughs and a cheerful environment to work in. Although, I am personally a bit of a goof and believe there is never too much fun and excitement. If employees truly make their work space their own it becomes a personal environment. Yes they are doing work from that space, but it becomes their own, a home away from home if you will.

Cubical Decor
I can’t tell you how often I’ve wanted to go home and do my work from the comfort of my couch. Encourage employees to bring in their own office chairs if they desire, and decorate their cube as their home away from home. When an employee is comfortable in their environment the work they produce is not only more efficient but accurate. Consider starting with your own lamp to detract from that lovely overhead light, or bring in a rug to create some atmosphere and feel like you’re more at home.

office decor
Remember everyone’s tastes are different so let employees have a little fun with their space and watch the productivity rise. What are your ideas to make the workplace more personal? HERE are some ideas for making your space a home away from home.

In Conclusion:

Let’s not end up like Milton from Office Space, and make our environment a bit more appealing, but really have you seen my stapler?


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Posted by Lauren Yeager in All Posts, Small Business and tagged , , , , ,

What Makes Employees Stay?

EmployeesEmployees come and go from companies, but what helps a company keep an employee and keep them happy? A recent article by the Employee Benefits Research Institute says that the benefits both attract and retain the best workers. In a 2013 survey EBRI discovered that the benefits package is an important factor in a potential employees decision to accept or reject a job. The survey was also able to show that many workers weren’t satisfied with the benefits package being offered.

One of the best advantages of defined contribution health benefits is that an employee has the option to choose their own individual health plan rather than being given a one size fits all group plan. With this option an employer gives back the freedom of choice to the employee. This way they can choose a plan tailored to their healthcare needs for both themselves and their families. Defined contribution plans also allow employers to tailor their contribution to each employee. Unfortunately group plans do not allow this freedom on the employer or employee side.

As a company if you want a high employee retention rate are you looking into other options for your employees that give them more choices than a traditional group plan does?

Read the full article from the Employee Benefits Research Institute HERE


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Posted by Lauren Yeager in Health Insurance, Small Business and tagged , , , , ,

Common Misconceptions with Defined Contribution

QuestionThere are common misconceptions with defined contribution plans as to their legality and how to set them up to comply with regulations. One of the common questions comes from understanding that the employer is not directly paying for an employee’s individual health insurance. When a company sets up a defined contribution plan it must be compliant with IRS, ERISA, HIPPA, and ACA guidelines. We typically recommend using an administrator when setting up these plans. So why do you need to set up a formal plan to be in compliance versus giving the employee funds directly?

To maintain compliance employers aren’t involved in the employee’s decision to choose their individual health policy, the employer does not directly pay for the insurance premium, and the employer is not involved in any communication between the individual and the insurance company. When following the above guidelines it allows the employer to contribute to an individual health insurance plan maintaining compliance with federal law.

In a defined contribution plan employers are able to give employees different contributions based on their class or position within the company. This class can be based on job categories, geographic location, part-time or full-time status, etc. A class must treat all employees equally, to avoid discrimination. These classes are defined by the employer in an ERISA plan document before the defined contribution plan is put into place.

We have found Zane Benefits is one of the best at administering defined contribution plans. Zane offers a FAQ sheet on their website HERE. For more common misconceptions and answers visit their website. What are some of your biggest questions when it comes to Defined Contribution?


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Posted by Lauren Yeager in All Posts, Did You Know?, Health Insurance, In The News, Small Business and tagged , , , ,

Help is Coming for Small Businesses

houseWhen the ACA was written the law has come with its fair share of challenges and there have been many changes. When the law was passed the I.R.S. drafted a regulation that imposes fines on small business for doing what the very law is meant to do, help individual and families afford health insurance. Kevin Kuhlman, policy director for the National Association of Independent Business said, ” Reimbursing employees for the cost of insurance or medical services is a way for small businesses to help their workers without the administrative headaches of setting up a costly group plan.” The IRS has said for doing so they will impose a $100 a day, per employee fine, that’s $36,500 per employee a year.

Congress is trying to modify the rulesenate with H.R. 2911. There is also legislation in the Senate, S.1697, to modify the rule. With bi-partisan support for modifications there is hope that action will be taken quickly.  Kuhlman stated later, ” There’s no real justification for penalizing small businesses that do what the law’s strongest supporters claim to want, which is to help employees obtain coverage or pay medical bills…” There is a anticipation that this modification as well as many other modifications to the ACA will take place now that the King Vs. Burwell case has been ruled on.

Here at Design Health we have immersed ourselves in the laws and regulations that surround the ACA, and there is a solution for small businesses to provide a reimbursement to employees for individual health insurance compliant with the ACE. Read more about this solution on ZANE BENEFITS

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Posted by Lauren Yeager in All Posts, In The News, Small Business and tagged , , , , , ,

Bipartisan Support Is A Win For Small Business

One of the first big changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was voted on last week and passed. The bill was approved in both the House and the Senate eliminating a provision in the law that would have imposed costly requirements on businesses with 51 to 100 employees. The bill was signed into law by the President yesterday.

This is great news for the bill that had bipartisan support and is a win for small businesses. The ACA has already made it hard on small businesses and if the definition of a small business had beenbipartisan support redefined to include those that employee 51-100 employees they would have seen premium increases averaging 18%. Kurt Giesa, an actuary at Oliver Wyman said, “Many of the groups receiving such sizable increases would elect to drop their health insurance coverage and either self-fund or not offer any coverage at all.”

The bill was passed last Monday in the House and last Thursday in the Senate, this shows what can be done quickly with bipartisan support. This type of support was ushered in by months of lobbying and advocacy for the bill. There has been so much controversy surrounding the ACA between Republican and Democratic parties is is refreshing to see both sides working together to bring constructive change to the AC
A. There have been 13 bills passed since the ACA went into effect in 2010, but only one other instance had the Republican led congress in agreement that the bill would truly improve the Affordable Care Act.

This bill keeps the definition of small business to include those companies that are 50 employees or smaller, and gives each state the power to redefine small business to less than 100 if the state in and of itself chooses to do so. The way the Affordable Care Act was written it allowed states to determine the definition of small business in 2014 and 2015, but changed in 2016 to a federal standard of 100 or less employees. This bill keeps medium sized companies from much higher premium increases in 2016, which could have resulted in employees losing their employer sponsored coverage. There was a large potential for companies to either drop their coverage or go to self funded plans in 2016 if this bill had not passed. Thankfully employees and employers alike are safe due to our branches of government working together as one.

Read another article on the subject from the New York Times HERE

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Posted by Lauren Yeager in All Posts, Health Insurance, In The News, Small Business and tagged , , , , ,