BENEFITS

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Health Insurance Is Important to You and Your Business

QUICK SUMMARY

One of the first and most critical to-do’s for any business owner is to obtain health insurance as soon as possible. The most important reason for this is to protect yourself and your family from losing more than just your good health.

Without health insurance, your family and business may be one major illness or injury away from financial struggles or even bankruptcy. Over four-in-ten people surveyed by the Kaiser Family Foundation in 2016 said medical bills had a major impact on their families. And nearly one-in-five people with medical bills problems said they declared bankruptcy. This is a devastating consequence for not only you and your family, but for your business—which means your employees, partners, and their families suffer the losses as well.

On the bright side, over half of the small firms in the U.S., which employed between three and 199 employees, offered health insurance benefits in 2017, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

There may also be legal reasons to acquire health insurance. The individual mandate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), requiring individuals to have health insurance coverage or face an IRS penalty, was repealed and will be effective in 2019. The mandate remains for 2018, however.

If your business employs 50 or more full-time employees, the ACA requires you to offer affordable, qualified health insurance coverage for workers, or you’ll receive an IRS penalty.

How to Obtain Individual Health Insurance

Generally, you can find individual health policies in one of two ways:

  1. Call an independent insurance professional who specializes in health insurance. You may want to ask your colleagues, peers, and friends to recommend someone.
  2. Visit your state’s online health insurance exchange, which was created expressly in accordance with the ACA. You can search for your state’s health insurance exchange by visiting the federal government’s site and clicking on “Get Coverage.”

NOTE: Some lower-income individuals may qualify for premium subsidies or cost-sharing subsidies. If you are one of them, you can only receive these subsidies through a state or federal health insurance exchange.

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Available Through Professional and Trade Organizations

Typically, group health insurance is far more affordable than individual insurance. Check if you qualify for a group health plan through a professional, trade or membership organization. Following are examples of organizations that have group plans available to their membership:

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Advantages of High Deductible Policies

The higher your deductible (the amount you pay out of pocket each year before the insurance company begins covering your care), the lower your premiums. As a result, many entrepreneurs purchase high deductible health plans, or HDHPs—also known as “consumer directed health plans”—to keep their monthly premium payments low.

Whether you’re seeking insurance privately through an agent/broker or via an online exchange, you’ll find that HDHPs are typically among the most affordable in terms of premium payments. And, under the ACA, many HDHPs cover preventive services—prenatal care, cancer screenings, children’s dental checkups, etc.—without regard to your deductible.

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