A shot from the neck down showing a person holding a form on a clipboard and a pen and another person wearing medical scrubs.
Providing health insurance to your employees is an ongoing commitment, and your business's plan should be regularly examined to make sure you're doing right by your team. — Getty Images/Chinnapong

Small business owners that provide health insurance must renew their insurance plan every year. This is because insurance providers continually update their plans to reflect any new rules and regulations, as well as to account for any inflation in the health insurance industry or new risks.

Renewing your health insurance can be a little confusing. It can be tempting to simply stick to the plan you used in the previous year. But it’s worthwhile to take a few minutes to review your options and see what will change if you elect to stay on the same plan.

Here’s what to consider when renewing your business’s health insurance.

[Read more: Small Business Guide to Offering Health Insurance]

How has your business changed?

First, when deciding whether to stick with your existing plan or update your benefits package, consider the ways in which your business has changed. Do you have more employees than in previous years? Have the demographics of your team changed? If your employees include many expecting parents, for instance, they may be more interested in a family plan than a staff of recent college graduates.

“Renewals are also an opportunity for your employees to reevaluate their needs and pick a different plan from your offerings, or sign on for the first time if they opted out before,” reported Justworks, an HR technology company.

Give your team ample warning that the open enrollment period is coming. This heads-up will give your employees enough time to review plan changes, switch plans and find health insurance that meets their needs.

Is your health insurance providing the right value?

Ideally, your insurance will provide coverage when needed—and hopefully, there’s a point at which insurance coverage isn’t really being used.

“Check how much of their allocation your team has actually spent and what your expected premium increase is,” wrote the experts at Workforce.com. “Get your broker to understand the demographics of your workforce population (i.e. age, the composition, the types of services they value, etc.) so you can build your employee benefits strategy around that.”

[Read more: 3 Things You Need to Know About Employee Health Insurance]

Renewals are also an opportunity for your employees to reevaluate their needs and pick a different plan from your offerings.

Justworks

You can expect your health insurance premiums to go up year after year. Inflation and the continued increased costs of cutting-edge health care and prescription drugs make price increases inevitable. This means at some point, you may need to relook at your health insurance to make sure you’re getting the plan with the best possible value from your budget.

What ancillary benefits can you offer?

Many business owners take this time to evaluate their entire benefits package. This has two big advantages.

First, ancillary benefits offer a way to practice preventative medicine that can ultimately bring your health care costs down. In the United States, 75% of health care spending goes to preventable, chronic conditions. Benefits like discounted gym memberships, access to mental health services or flexible work hours can help keep your team healthy and boost morale.

Secondly, reconsidering your ancillary benefits can help you find money to put toward renewing your business’s health insurance. Maybe you’ve adopted a permanent work-from-home policy and no longer need to subsidize commuting costs. Adding that into your budget for health insurance can help you offer great benefits, retain your top talent and still keep your healthy bottom line.

What are the rules?

The regulations governing business health insurance change frequently. As you consider your options, speak to your provider to make sure you’re renewing the right plan for your business. Remember, if you’ve grown to more than 50 full-time employees, you are not mandated to provide health insurance—but you will face tax penalties for neglecting to do so.

Lastly, make sure you know the renewal deadline! Not all plans renew on the same schedule, so check with your provider to get key dates on the calendar.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published May 06, 2021