Small Business

Health Insurance for a Small Retail Business

Published on December 18, 2019

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Are you looking for a group health insurance plan for your retail store? While you may have a full schedule keeping track of retail sales, inventory, and storefront operations, the good news is that it is easy to find affordable and reliable small business health insurance plans.

Even small retail stores can qualify for small business health insurance, and you may be able to benefit from cost savings due to lower monthly premiums and potential tax benefits. Continue reading to learn more about group health insurance plans for a small retail business.

Should a retail store have a small business health insurance plan?

Beyond having commercial insurance for your small retail business, you might also consider choosing a group medical insurance plan for yourself and your employees. Is a small business required to provide group health insurance? According to the Affordable Care Act (ACA):

  • Businesses with fewer than 50 full-time or full-time equivalent employees are not required to offer group health insurance to their workers.
  • Businesses with greater than 50 full-time employees are required to offer medical benefits to their workforce.

For small business owners, this means that you are not obligated to provide employer-sponsored health coverage to your employees. Still, there are many reasons why you might consider offering medical benefits to your retail workers, and having group health insurance may be especially important for the unique needs of a small retail business:

Less sick days

  • More so than other small businesses, a retail store is often critically dependent on the physical presence of its employees as they interact with customers, manage inventory, and organize merchandise. Dealing with employee absences due to illness can be detrimental and disruptive to your retail business, especially during busy shifts, critical retail seasons, or holidays.
  • Having a small business health insurance plan in place may be an effective way to help keep your employees healthy and productive over the long-term. By providing workers with access to quality health care resources, they could be more likely to recover and return to work faster.

Employee retention

  • By its nature, retail tends to be a high-turnover industry. Offering health insurance to your staff may be an effective way to boost employee retention, since group medical plans are one of the most popular employee benefits. When retail workers see that their employer cares for their well-being by providing important benefits, they may be more likely to remain at their jobs.
  • For retail small business owners, employee retention is important since it means reducing the likelihood of having to replace employees who leave, and avoiding having to go through the time-intensive recruiting, hiring, and training process again.

More affordable plans

  • Managing costs is always an important concern for small retail business owners. Fortunately, small business health insurance plans may often be more affordable and have lower average per-person costs than individual health insurance plans.
  • According to the eHealth 2018 Small Business Health Insurance Report, the average premium per-person for a small business health plan was $409, or 7 percent lower than average premium for an individual plan, which was $440. The eHealth report also found that small business health insurance plans show more premium stability over time than individually purchased coverage.

Overall, having a small business health insurance plan may provide access to medical coverage at a lower cost for both yourself and your retail employees. A group health plan may also contribute to other advantages for a small retail store, such as less absences and greater employee retention.

Group health plan options for a retail store

A small retail business has many group health insurance options to choose from if it decides to offer medical coverage to its workforce. Here is a summary of common types of small business health insurance plans that your retail store can offer to your employees.

  • Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) – In a HMO plan, retail employees choose a primary care physician (PCP) to coordinate their health care needs within their specific medical network. HMO plans often have lower premiums and out-of-pocket costs, yet less flexibility since members need a referral from their PCP before seeing a specialist.
  • Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) – PPO plans do not require retail employees to choose a primary care physician, allowing them to see doctors outside of their medical network and consult specialists without a PCP referral. The trade-off for the greater network flexibility of a PPO plan is typically higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs.
  • Point of Service (POS) – Combining the characteristics of PPO and HMO plans, POS plans involve selecting a primary care physician who manages specialist referrals. POS plans usually provide access to a wider variety of health care providers, and were chosen by 47 percent, or almost half, of small business owners in 2018, according to an eHealth report.
  • Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) – EPO plans do not require a primary care physician, allowing plan members to see doctors and specialists without referrals. However, while EPO plans may cost less than other health plans, they do not provide out of network coverage.

Choosing the right plan for your retail business will depend on the budget and health coverage preferences of yourself and your employees. Every health plan is different, so make sure to read the official documents for any plan you select in order to know its benefits and specifications.

Your retail store may be able to qualify for the small business health care tax credit, which can help your business pay for your portion of monthly employee premiums in a group health plan. Even if a small retail business is not eligible for the tax credit, employers are still able to deduct premium expenses from their federal business taxes.

How can a small retail business enroll in a group health plan?

To enroll in a small business health insurance plan as a retail store, you can visit public or private health exchanges. Choosing eHealth to enroll in a group health insurance plan can provide several distinctive benefits to retail small business owners:

  • eHealth has the best selection of health plans available online, allowing you to find affordable and quality choices within your price range.
  • We offer free health quotes for small business owners, with no obligation to enroll. We also do not charge any broker fees.
  • Our website makes it easy to quickly compare plans from different health insurance companies, empowering you to find the right option for your business.

You can also speak with our licensed health insurance agents, who can answer your questions and provide you with personalized advice and unbiased recommendations based on your particular needs. If you choose to sign up for a small business health insurance plan, our agents will be there to help walk you through every step of our streamlined enrollment process, from start to finish.

eHealth also provides you with comprehensive support, serving as your advocate and point of communication with the insurance company, even after you sign up for a plan.

Visit eHealth.com today or speak with one of our licensed agents to learn more about your options for affordable small business health insurance.

This article is for general information and may not be updated after publication. Consult your own tax, accounting, or legal advisor instead of relying on this article as tax, accounting, or legal advice.

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