2/16/2010

Health insurance options for small businesses

The costs linked to health insurance are constantly on the rise while most small businesses are looking to minimize their budget spendings these days. Due to this the Congress has provided a new viable option for small businesses to keep their employees covered in the form of has (health savings accounts). What are the benefits of using has in a small business and how it is different from typical group health insurance plans? This article will explain it all.

What's HSA is all about?

In essence, HSA is a newly developed form of individual and group health insurance that combines a high-deductible health insurance plan with a savings account that's free of taxes for medical coverage purposes. HSA are employed to lower the expenses both for business owners and workers in the field of health insurance. And with the current economical situation most small business owners find HSA as a very good alternative to typical group coverage plans.

The Wall Street Journal reports that large enterprises spend about $6,000 per employee each year for health coverage. And with growth rates exceeding 15% early, no wonder that almost half of small businesses in the US do not offer health insurance to their workers at all. Such growth rates can't be explained by the inflation or to increase in wages, because the raise in health insurance costs well exceeds the both.

It's evident that in such a situation more and more business owners will choose not to provide group health coverage to their employees in order to minimize the costs and try to stay on float. What can an HSA bring to the table in such unfavorable conditions?

The benefits of HSA compared to typical health insurance options:

1) High deductible plans are used. This means that the premiums your workers will have to pay will be much lower than with traditional group plans.

2) Tax-free contributions. HSAs use tax-free savings accounts, which means that all contributions are not included into the gross income. A great benefit for those who want to spend more on small business insurance.

3) Healthcare education. Due to the fact that HSAs involve the users into more active participation in their healthcare processes, users become better educated about healthcare in general.

4) Tax-free medical expenses. All the spendings for qualified medical assistance are not tax-deductible, which is definitely a nice feature for small businesses that are on a tight budget.

5) The account is owned by the employee. This means that the coverage will continue no matter what, even if the worker switches between employers or even goes without a job.

6) Roll-overs are possible. With this option the account owner can use it as a retirement plan by accumulating more funds on it every year.

7) Tax-free interest and dividends.

8) Employer contributions are free of taxes. This allows the owners concentrating on their small business insurance needs without having to worry about taxation on health insurance coverage for their employees.

As you can see, HSAs give better flexibility and coverage opportunities to small businesses, which are definitely the most vulnerable group of economical agents. So if you own a small enterprise, think of an HSA as a tool for optimizing your small business insurance accounts.

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