Small Business

Why Buy Small Business Health Insurance This Year?

Published on December 18, 2019

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The Open Enrollment Period, or OEP, is the season where everyone is wondering whether or not they should choose a new health plan, or get health insurance for the first time. If you’re a small business owner, OEP may be the time for you to drop your individual plan, and instead of buying another one, opt for a group plan to help your employees save as well as yourself.

Continue reading to find out more about the advantages of small business health plans and why OEP might be a good time to evaluate your coverage options.

Why does the Open Enrollment Period matter?

OEP is important since it is the annual window when the majority of people purchase health insurance. However, the time limits of OEP only apply to individual and family health plans. This is great news for small business owners, because it means that you can buy small business health insurance at any time during the entire year, regardless of whether you shop for a plan during OEP or another season.

Is small business health insurance more affordable than an individual health plan?

On average, a small business health insurance plan tends have lower costs per-person than an individual health insurance plan. According to the 2018 eHealth Small Business Health Insurance Report, the average monthly premium per person under a small business health plan was 7 percent lower than the average premium for an individual health plan ($409 vs. $440).

Choosing a small business health insurance plan could help both you and your employees save money on health insurance coverage during OEP this year. In addition to lower costs, there are other compelling reasons why your small business could benefit from exploring group health plan options.

Additional advantages of a small business health insurance plan

Beyond potentially lower monthly premiums, there are other strategic and financial advantages that go along with buying a group health insurance plan.

  • Tax deductions – As an employer, you can deduct the cost of monthly employee premiums from your federal business taxes each year.
  • Small business health care tax credit – Your business may be able to qualify for a tax credit from the government if your company meets certain employment and wage requirements.
  • Greater employee retention – As one of the most popular and in-demand employee benefits, group health insurance coverage may be a great way to help retain and recruit the best employees for your business.

Overall, a group health insurance plan provides helpful benefits to both employers and employees, regardless of whether they enroll in a group plan during OEP or other times of the year.

Is OEP the only time that you can buy small business health insurance this year?

You can purchase group health insurance at any time during the year—one of the benefits of owning a business that qualifies you for small business health insurance! Although the limited time window of OEP only applies to individual and family plans, OEP is often a good time to consider your group plan options, especially if you are a small business owner currently enrolled in an individual plan.

Since OEP is the season when most people enroll in health insurance coverage, it can be an optimal time to discuss health policy options with your employees if they are uninsured. That way, your workers can determine if either an employer-sponsored health plan or an individual plan would be the most affordable choice. Once employees have decided, they can enroll in their own plan during OEP or join your company’s group health coverage.

How can you qualify for small business health insurance?

Many small businesses will often be able to qualify for a group health policy. To qualify for group health insurance coverage, your business needs to meet the following requirements:

  • Be officially registered as a business according to your state’s regulations
  • Have at least one-full time employee who is not the business owner or a spouse
  • Pay for at least 50 percent of monthly employee premiums through cost sharing

In terms of participation requirements, you need to enroll at least 70 percent of your uninsured employees. However, during the Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for small businesses, which runs from November 15 to December 15 each year, the 70 percent employee participation requirement is waived. Note that SEP is distinct from OEP, since OEP is for individual plans, and SEP is for small business plans.

Also, remember that for qualified health plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), your company’s group cannot be denied coverage based on pre-existing conditions.

How can you buy small business health insurance this year?

You can shop for small business health insurance plans during OEP through eHealth.com. Our private health exchange for small business allows you to easily compare multiple health plans from different insurance companies to help you save time and money. By using eHealth’s website, you benefit from:

  • Free health quotes – You can get access to numerous no-obligation health quotes for plans in your area by entering in your zip code and number of employees on our small business page.
  • No broker fees – eHealth does not charge any broker fees. Instead, we provide our services at no additional cost to you in order to enable your business to find the optimal group health plan.
  • The best selection of health plans – We have over 1,300 group health plans available from more than 70 health insurance carriers, giving you more options to help you make the best choices.
  • Long-term advocacy and support – Purchasing health coverage through eHealth means that you can rely on our licensed agents to answer your questions. By serving as your point of contact with the insurance company, we can help resolve your inquiries related to claims or billing.

Ultimately, comparing your free health quotes all in one place with eHealth empowers you to make the right group health insurance decision for yourself and your employees.

To learn more about your group health coverage options during OEP (or any time of the year), visit our small business health insurance page today or speak with one our licensed health insurance agents.

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