Recent years have brought more attention not only to the growing concern over health problems like obesity and diabetes, but also to the skyrocketing costs of health insurance. Employers and employees alike are feeling the pain in their wallets, and costs could increase by as much as 30 percent as uninsured individuals obtain healthcare services through the Affordable Care Act.
As a small business owner, you’re probably just as concerned about how much it will cost you to offer health insurance to your employees as they are with what their contribution will be. Fortunately, there are several good strategies to consider that can help keep costs manageable for everyone. For example, consumer-directed health plans, which have higher deductibles and lower premiums, are often offered by employers and paired with health savings accounts (HSAs) that give employees the ability to contribute pre-tax income to the account for use on routine medical expenses.
Flexible spending accounts (FSAs) have also become a popular cost-saving aspect of health insurance in recent years. Using pre-tax income the employee previously set aside to fund an FSA debit card, the money is available for use on co-pays and over-the-counter medication, saving employees from out-of-pocket costs.
Community health centers and nonprofits have become the primary health care provider for many individuals who otherwise might not be able to afford it. And according to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the success of these centers has “played an essential role in national recovery and reinvestment efforts and will play a key role in implementation of the Affordable Care Act.”
As NonProfit Quarterly shared in a recent article, the ACA’s expanded coverage provision will allow people without insurance to receive medical attention and care through community health centers rather than being required to visit hospital emergency rooms. Additionally, this expanded coverage means low-income patients can “more freely seek medical care from a variety of providers.”
Along with an increased number of patients, the ACA will bring in a total of $11 billion of “new, dedicated funding” for these health centers and their programs during a five year time frame (National Association of Community Health Centers).
The HRSA offers the following breakdown of how the funds will be distributed:
What if one of your employees breaks an ankle while on the job and will have to be out of work for a few weeks while it heals. Or, what if an employee becomes ill and will need to take time away from work to recuperate. Disability insurance and worker’s compensation benefits are offered to employees to provide them with monetary payments while they are out of work, but determining which benefit applies and when can sometimes be a bit tricky.
The Small Business Chronicle offers a great explanation of the difference between disability insurance and worker’s compensation:
“… the latter [worker’s compensation] pays for work-related injuries. Employers purchase worker’s compensation insurance to pay for incidents that occur on the job… Disability insurance, on the other hand, pays a portion of the worker’s earnings if he cannot perform job duties because of an illness or injury. Unlike worker’s compensation insurance, an employee pays an insurance premium toward disability insurance through an employer-sponsored benefit plan.”
Disability insurance provided through an employer-sponsored benefit plan usually comes in two types of policies – short-term and long-term – both of which provide a source of income for individuals when the illness …