Thursday, January 7, 2010

Many small businesses don’t offer health insurance to employees. Here’s why they should.

A sobering statistic popped out at me from the 2009 version of the Employer Health Benefits Survey annually done by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Education and Research Trust: only 47% of businesses with 3-9 employees offer health care benefits, compared to 72% of firms with 10-24 employees, 87% of firms with 25-49 employees and 95% of firms with more than 50 employees.

Another recent survey, this one by the Association for Healthcare Research and Quality, found that the most likely small businesses to offer health insurance are those in mining and manufacturing, wholesale trade and professional services.

With or without health care reform, there are several good business reasons why all small firms should consider offering their employees health insurance as a benefit:
· Offering health insurance makes it easier to attract and retain good employees.
· If they purchase a consumer directed health care plan with a health savings account, employees and save for and pay for health expenses on a pre-tax basis.
· A healthier work force tends to be more productive and miss fewer days of work because of illness.

Most health insurance companies now offer a range of health care plans for small companies, including the innovative health savings account (HSA)-high deductible plans. A high deductible plan is typically the least expensive healthcare insurance option for a small business, while the HSA enables employees to pay for their share of health care with pretax dollars.

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