How small businesses can provide big benefits

Small businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to offer their employees a quality and affordable benefits program.

However, if you are a small business owner or responsible for a small business employee benefit program, don’t worry. There are options for you.

In recent years, an increasing number of insurance carriers have offered more benefit options for small business employers. These benefits are designed to accompany all “core” benefit plan options and allow a small business to offer a full benefits program to all of its employees.

By offering a basic “core benefit offering” that could include health and dental coverage and combine it with other supplemental or optional benefits, the employer can offer a competitive benefits program without breaking the bank. These benefits may include an employer contribution to support the cost of the benefit, or they may be provided as an employee-paid benefit through payroll deduction only, or a combination of both.

Some of the supplemental or optional benefit plan offerings include short and long-term disability insurance, life insurance, accident insurance, limited medical insurance, dental and long-term care insurance, to name a few.

The benefit for small businesses is that they have complete flexibility on the cost of the plan and how the cost is shared. The benefit to the employee is that they can choose their own insurance/benefits program and only pay for the coverage they need. This creates a benefits program that is affordable for both employer and employee, allowing both to stay within their respective budgets.

Some of the key features of supplemental or voluntary insurance plans are that small businesses get simplified underwriting, a group rate to reduce costs, and control in some plan design features. The small business only needs two employees to qualify for this type of coverage.

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These benefits can also be used for part-time employees. As a small business continues to grow, the business may have an advantage if it enters a growth phase and begins hiring part-time employees who can grow into a full-time employee. These employees may have a full benefit program that can be transferred with them when they move to a full-time position.

As it becomes increasingly difficult to retain and attract high quality employees, offering a benefits program that includes voluntary payroll benefits can help employers retain and attract high quality employees at an affordable price.