Small business health insurance has benefits for both you and your optometry office employees.
The American Optometric Association found that the average optometry office employed between three and four staff employees for each optometrist. Since small group health insurance only requires two employees, this means that even the smallest optometry office can usually qualify for small group health insurance. While businesses with fewer than 50 full-time employees may not need to offer group health insurance to avoid tax penalties, group medical plans can benefit both the business and the employees.
Advantages of group health insurance for a small optometry office
You may decide that group health insurance can enhance your optometry business for several reasons. These benefits include:
- Tax credits: Your small optometry office might not need to offer group health insurance to avoid paying tax penalties. At the same time, you may qualify for tax credits if you do. Some qualifications include paying at least half the premium, having no more than 25 employees, and buying an ACA-qualified* small business plan. In addition to premium tax credits, some offices may also have the chance to deduct the premiums that they pay from their taxes.
- Employee retention and recruiting: A Glassdoor study found that good-quality group health insurance improved employee satisfaction more than any other benefit. Retirement plans and vacation time ranked second and third. Offering health insurance can also help an optometry office compete for good employees, so these practices can benefit from lower turnover and higher productivity.
- Promote a healthy office: The health-care professionals in an optometry office know the value of staying healthy. As these hard-working employees take care of other people, the practice owners can help their staff take care of themselves and their families. Offering group health benefits can help maintain a healthy staff and a healthy image.
*A plan that meets Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, standards.
Choosing the right health insurance for a small optometry office
Insurance companies offer a variety of major medical insurance plans for small businesses. As with any insurance, business owners need to balance a plan’s coverage and flexibility against the premiums and other costs. Since employees will probably also pay some of the premiums, an optometry practice owner needs to consider affordability both for the business and the employees.
After comparing a variety of small group health insurance plans, consider surveying the staff to learn their preferences. Employers shoulder a large responsibility when they select medical plans for employees, but they don’t need to make the decision entirely on their own.
Which staff qualifies for group medical benefits?
Some optometry offices employ contract opticians, optometrists, and other staff members. To earn tax credits, employers have to offer group coverage to all full-time employees. While no rule requires them to offer these benefits to contractors or part-time employees, they may decide to because their group would be very small otherwise.
Insurance companies also base premiums upon average employee age, so some companies may benefit from offering benefits to younger people. While employers may have to pay at least half of the premium for full-time employees, they don’t need to pay premiums for contract workers. Sometimes, letting contract employees join the group medical plan can help a business save money without adding costs.
Finding group health insurance for a small optometry office
Simply visit the small business health insurance page at eHealth to get started. Enter the practice’s ZIP code and an estimated number of employees to cover. Within seconds, the quote system will display several plans and price quotes.
The hardest part for most small business owners is choosing the right plan from among many options, but eHealth also has licensed insurance brokers that can offer personalized advice. Besides offering quotes for group insurance for optometry offices, eHealth also can provide competitive quotes for individual health insurance and dental and vision plans.