Group Health Insurance for Your Small Veterinary Clinic

Small Business

Group Health Insurance for Your Small Veterinary Clinic

Published on March 15, 2018

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Are you looking for group health insurance for your small veterinary clinic or animal shelter? Finding health insurance for your veterinary clinic or shelter might be on the long-term column of your to-do list, but you’ll be happy to find that pairing with a reliable insurance partner can be done quickly and easily.
Learn more about how veterinary benefits and group health insurance works, to see how you can get a comprehensive group health insurance plan for your small veterinary clinic without breaking the bank or wasting your time.

Should a veterinary clinic have health insurance benefits?

If your small veterinary clinic or shelter is comprised of less than 50 employees, you probably are not required to offer health insurance. However, just because there’s no law telling you to offer benefits for veterinarians and other staff working there, doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea. There are actually plenty of reasons to add a quality health insurance package to any benefits that you may already have in place at your veterinary clinic:

  • Various studies have shown that a majority of employees would prefer a quality health care insurance package than a pay raise. This important benefit could help you retain and hire quality employees who are worth keeping around.
  • Healthier veterinary clinic. Your clinic or shelter is dedicated to maintaining and improving the health of the animals who visit your facility. So why shouldn’t benefits for your associates or in-house veterinarians be par for the course in a place that promotes health? Offering a group health insurance plan for your veterinarians and various staff members is a gesture that might help improve the health around your veterinary facility.
  • Tax breaks for the owner of the veterinary clinic. If you are the owner of a veterinary clinic or animal shelter and you offer health insurance to your employees (which tally below 50), then you could be eligible for some awesome tax breaks. See if you could qualify for the small business health care tax credit.

First off, you may hear this type of health insurance referred to as small business health insurance or group health insurance. It is important to recognize whether or not your small veterinary clinic fits into the health insurance regulations for what a small business is before you start shopping for a group health insurance plan. Group and employee definitions vary by insurance company and state, so be sure to check with a licensed insurance agent to find out the details for your specific situation.

Veterinary benefits: What do they look like?

Veterinary benefits really shouldn’t look that much different than benefits for any other individual, small business, or office. The staff of a small veterinary clinic require and deserve just as many privileges when it comes to health-care as anyone else.
As people who provide medical care to animals all day, the individuals in your small veterinary clinic know the value of having access to medical care through quality providers and facilities. So if the people of your veterinary clinic care for the health and well-being of the animals you care for, why shouldn’t they have the opportunity for invest in their health? Don’t let high prices bring you down—there are ways to get quality veterinary benefits for everyone in the clinic.
Veterinary benefits are definitely possible, even if you own, operate, or manage a small veterinary clinic with few staff and limited capital. Affordable options are out there for those willing to do some research. You can let eHealth do all the dirty work for you—get quick and easy quotes from different plans and companies, and enroll all on one user-friendly website designed with small businesses like your veterinary clinic in mind.
Below are some common types of health insurance plans that you can offer as benefits for veterinarians or other employees at your veterinary clinic. Keep in mind that you can offer more than one type of plan for everyone in the veterinary clinic to choose from, since this is a group plan.
Use this graph to understand, and help your veterinary clinic employees understand what each plan usually entails for them and any dependents they choose to add.

Type of plan Plan characteristics
Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) Under a PPO plan, you can see any healthcare provider in the insurance company’s network, including specialists, without a referral. In most cases, you are not required to choose a primary care physician. You will typically have copayments for any non-preventive medical care you receive, and you may have an annual deductible. In some cases, you can go outside of the network for a higher copayment.
 
Individuals who visit a specialist regularly may prefer this type of health insurance, since you won’t have to deal with getting referrals. This is also a great option if you have a doctor who you want to stay with, and you don’t want to risk paying completely out-of-pocket if he or she isn’t in the network.
Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) HMOs are one of the most popular types of health insurance you can purchase. With this plan, an entire network of healthcare providers agrees to offer you its services, but you have to select a primary care provider (PCP) who coordinates all of your health services and care.
 
HMOs usually offer coverage for most types of preventive care, including specialist visits, but in most cases, specialist visits can only happen with a referral from your PCP. Additionally, you will pay copayment fees for every non-preventive medical visit, and you may have an annual deductible. HMOs might have lower costs than some other types of major medical plans.
 
HMOs are usually best suited for individuals and families that want to save money and don’t mind using a limited provider network.
Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) With an EPO plan, you have access to all of the healthcare providers within the EPO network, including specialists. Whereas PPO plans may offer you some coverage outside of your network, EPO plans typically will not (except for emergencies).
 
EPO plans can be suited well to individuals who don’t mind limiting themselves to providers within a network and who don’t want to coordinate their care through a primary care doctor.
Point of Service (POS) POS plans are a hybrid of HMOs and PPOs. With a POS plan you will typically have to designate a primary care physician for regular check-ups and referrals. But you can also use out-of-network providers if you’re willing to pay more out of pocket; you’ll usually have a copayment and deductible as well.
 
This type of plan is versatile, and can be right for people who are willing to pay a bit more for extra flexibility.
High-Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) High-deductible plans cross categories. Some are PPO plans, while others may be EPO or HMO plans. This type of health insurance has a high deductible that you have to meet before your health insurance coverage takes effect. These plans can be right for people who want to save money with low monthly premiums and don’t plan to use their medical coverage extensively.
 
HDHPs are often paired with Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). If you contribute money to an HSA, you can buy an HSA-compatible health plan. Money contributed to an HSA can be saved on a pre-tax or tax-deductible basis to pay for qualifying medical expenses, including annual deductibles.

* Every dental plan is different, so any individual plan you select may or may not cover any of the benefits listed above as examples.  Be sure to read the official plan documents for any plan you choose so that you understand the specific benefits provided by that plan.
As a small veterinary clinic, there are plenty of options for your veterinarians and staff members. You can choose plans with fewer benefits, in order to make the group health insurance plan possible. At eHealth, we know that there’s no use in health insurance that you can’t afford, so there is a range of plans available for all budgets.

How to decide which benefits for veterinarians are necessary

What type of plan and which benefits for veterinarians and other staff you should get, will depend on your veterinary clinic or shelters’ specific needs (employee count & demographics, state location, etc). It may be a good idea to talk to the veterinarians and various employees at your veterinary clinic about what benefits matter most to them before making your final decision. Using their opinions might help guide which group health insurance plan is best for your small veterinary clinic.

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