Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Health benefits for home-based businesses

It is always quite hard for small enterprises to get good health coverage with competitive rates, especially if compared with bigger companies. Some small companies, especially home-based ones, don't have the minimum number of workers to be eligible for health group plans at all. And this means that there's no other option for these small enterprises than having no group plans for their employees altogether. If you have a home-based business chances are that you are the single worker at it, or have only a couple of additional employees beside you, which makes it virtually impossible for obtaining adequate insurance plans from most insurance companies.


But don't give up too soon, because there are ways you can get what you need. A great number of insurance providers offer competitive plans for self-employed individuals as well as group plans for small businesses.


These are some useful tips that will help you get adequate health insurance coverage for you and your workers in case you are the owner of a home-based enterprise:


* Join a purchasing pool or an alliance plan. It is quite hard for small business to negotiate competitive rates with the insurance companies as they will usually get billed with higher premiums than bigger enterprises. However, if small businesses group together it will be much easier to negotiate the rates because of the larger number of employees getting the benefits. The two options for such grouping are purchasing pools and association plans. Contact your state insurance department or local chamber of commerce to learn what are the options for your business regarding these two possibilities.


* Choose plans that are specifically tailored for small enterprises. The market of small business insurance and health insurance for smaller enterprises is growing rapidly and there are more and more companies competing for this market niche. So learn what insurance providers have specific small business offers and compare the rates. They should get even more competitive with more players entering this market.


* Cover your individual health insurance needs as well. As a business owner, no matter whether you're the single worker or have more employees, the entire enterprise depends on your well-being. So make sure you're properly covered and have enough insurance, because a single accident with costly medical bills to pay can be fatal to the entire business and some of your most valuable assets (house, car, etc.) Having no health coverage is not the smartest thing in your situation.


* Choose the right insurance coverage type. There is a very wide selection of insurance types with their pros and cons. Things like fee-for-service, PPOs and HMOs will surely get you confused at first so try to learn more about these plan types in order to know which one is right for you and your employees. The difference can be quite significant so take your time, ask your insurance agent to consult you on the matter.


* Consider having health savings account. HSAs have an important advantage over other types of insurance plans because the save your pre-tax money that can be quite sensitive for a small business. Being not a form of insurance technically, HSAs still have some of the group plan benefits and prove to be very helpful during the income tax period. So if the financial matters are vital for your business consider having such an option.

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