Tip Sheet: Cutting health care costs, not benefits

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 12:01 pm

As health insurance remains a major expense for small businesses, owners are left to consider how they can offer employees the benefits they deserve without breaking the bank.

In an article recently published by SCORE, author Drew McLellan, chief executive officer of Agency Management Institute, recommends four ways business owners can keep their company’s health insurance costs down without reducing employee benefits.

Consider telehealth and video checkups

For mild or non-emergency illnesses, visiting the doctor’s office can become a time suck. “A vomiting child deserves attention, but if the solution is bed rest and Sprite, why waste half the day at the doctor?” McLellan says.

Telehealth and video checkups are an efficient and cost-effective alternative. Such options, which usually are rolled out by independent providers and available through your plan’s advocacy service, cost less because they come out of claims expenditures.

Switch to a fiduciary provider

Using a fiduciary provider, rather than a pharmacy, can help cut costs for many medications, including generic drugs.

“Fiduciary providers, both in finance and in health care, are legally required to act in the best interests of their clients,” McLellan says, which means those companies are not loyal to any plan or insurance company.

Invest in employee wellness

Implementing an employee wellness program may not directly lower your health insurance bill, but if your employees are staying healthy, they are more valuable to the company in the long run.

Offer HSAs

Health savings accounts help employees pay for health care and create an additional avenue for tax-free retirement savings. Your fiduciary partner can help pick the right plan that would qualify for HSAs.

“Not all of your employees will take advantage of an HSA, but the benefit of flexibility will appeal to workers for whom the plan makes sense,” McLellan says.

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Maredithe has covered retail, restaurants, entertainment and tourism since 2018. Her duties as associate editor include copy editing, page proofing and managing work flow. Meyer earned a degree in journalism from Marquette University and still enjoys attending men’s basketball games to cheer on the Golden Eagles. Also in her free time, Meyer coaches high school field hockey and loves trying out new restaurants in Milwaukee.

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