Benefit plans for small businesses

For Kenyan émigré, Minnesota has become home, but his heart and

If you own a small business, you may be finding it increasingly necessary to implement a benefit program to attract and maintain employees. For small businesses, benefit plans generally consist of some of the major insurance benefits, discussed here, as well as employer-sponsored retirement plans.

Note: As a result of health-care reform legislation passed in 2010, beginning in 2014, if you have 50 or more employees you'll generally be subject to financial penalties unless you offer adequate health insurance coverage. The 2010 health-reform legislation also created a tax credit for employers who have 25 or fewer employees, offer health insurance coverage, and meet other specific requirements.

Group health insurance

By far the most common benefit offered by employers, and the one most requested by employees, health insurance comes in many forms and with widely varying levels of benefits. The most frequently offered forms of health insurance are traditional, Blue Cross/Blue Shield types of plans and health maintenance organizations (HMOs).

Traditional health insurance

Under a traditional employer-provided health insurance plan, you, as the employer, contract with an insurer to provide health insurance benefits for you and your employees (and often for your employees' dependents as well). A typical plan will pay claims as a percentage of the normal and customary charge for a given procedure in a particular region (typically, the insurance company pays 75 to 80 percent of a covered claim).

A covered employee generally must pay a standard deductible before benefits become payable by the insurer. Deductibles typically range between $200 and $1, 000. The higher the initial deductible, the lower the insurance premium. This is because the covered employees are taking on a larger portion of the insurance risk by paying the higher amount, and saving the insurance company the costs of processing smaller claims.

Health maintenance organizations

HMOs have grown tremendously in popularity over the last 20 years or so. There is still some debate as to whether these plans have actually helped in lowering costs while providing a high level of care to the patient, but there is little doubt that HMOs are here to stay.

HMOs will often offer a lower-cost option for you, the employer, as well as for your employees. Costs are reduced because the HMO typically restricts the doctors a patient can see to those within its provider network. However, in limited circumstances--as set out by the HMO--participants can generally go out of the provider network, and the HMO still picks up the cost.

HMO doctors are typically paid a set fee per patient. This fee is paid whether a patient actually seeks treatment or not. Doctors in the HMO network handle all procedures and tests. Thus, the HMO is able to control the entire spectrum of tasks necessary to keep a patient well. In theory, the HMO is also able to control costs by giving doctors incentives to keep costs low. A doctor has no financial incentive to conduct unnecessary tests (the doctor will receive the preset fee and no more), so it is up to the doctor to help control patient costs. Typically, HMOs charge very small co-payments (as low as $5 or $10 per visit).

Wiley Beyond 401(k)s for Small Business Owners: A Practical Guide to Incentive, Deferred Compensation, and Retirement Plans
Book (Wiley)
2007-01-12 22:39:11 by protectyourrights

Business Lawyer Referral

I don't know if this information will be helpful, but hopefully I can help save you some money and get your questions answered. I currently provide businesses with legal protection plans which include free unlimited consultations and referrals to lawyers on specific matters included in the cost of a business membership. A small business plan is $69 a month, and would be a great option for those needing immediate assistance. Our program includes unlimited consultations, letters written on your behalf and then a 25% discount should further matters require you to go further. Also, although the plan is invaluable there is no contract and if you have employees you can provide the family version to your employees as a benefit that they pay for directly

2008-05-01 18:29:06 by eljeezy

Plants, good points abt the streetcar thing

I posted earlier. you nailed the theory that city council and the mayor has been touting, and it seems like it'd be a good idea. the problem is that once the property values go up (another proposed 'benefit'), building owners will price out the small businesses renting from them in hopes that they'd vacate the building and make room for a larger chain that'd be able to 'whiten' the storefronts. then, when the locals rebel (as they regularly do against chain sub shops, for instance), the chains have no bones in letting the branch fail, then the storefront goes vacant again and the rent is too high for smaller businesses

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