5 Common Small Business Employee Benefit Myths

The employee benefit plan is a staple of large corporations. But as a small business owner, you may feel you have no good options. Traditional group insurance is not cost-effective for groups of fewer than 10 people. This leaves owners with smaller teams with poor coverage options for astronomical rates. When you care about your team, even if that's just you and one other person doing the jobs of 5 people, are you out of luck? Short answer, no. 

Let's break down some common misconceptions about health insurance for small business. 

Myth #1: You need a minimum number of employees to offer benefits

Many small business owners assume only big companies can offer their people great benefits. That's not true. Whether you're a business or 1 or 5000, there are great insurance options. However, when it comes to insurance, one size does not fit all. A plan specifically designed for small business will give you the benefits you want and include measures to keep your costs reasonable. Individual insurance plans can also be great options that offer flexibility for small or growing businesses, or businesses with a lot of contract, part-time, or freelance workers who would otherwise not qualify for a traditional group plan. These plans are tax-deductible too. 

Myth #2: There are no options for part-time or contract workers

Part-time and contract workers tend to get the shaft when it comes to traditional group insurance programs. Group insurance rules stipulate that very small plans must cover all full-time employees. Part-time employees generally don't qualify at all. There are options available that include all workers regardless of full or part-time status. These plans can be portable, which means workers have the option to carry a plan with them between contracts, or if they change jobs. Health Spending Accounts (HSA) can also help provide benefits to a diverse group of employees. But keep in mind an HSA is not a replacement for insurance. 

Myth #3: Employee benefit plans aren't affordable for small business

Insurance rates are determined based on claims made by plan members, the employees in a traditional group plan. Due to size, a small business is at much larger risk for steep rate increases when employees use their insurance. We know, it doesn't seem fair. The good news is options such as Health Plus PRIORITY and OPTIMUM plans offer excellent coverage and keep rates low. They also give owners flexibility on who to cover and how much to contribute to the cost. The risk of high claims is dispersed across all the businesses who are members of the plans. This keeps rates stable. If you do opt for a group plan, a dedicated small business advisor can also help you keep costs down with a plan design that will work for you and your team. 

Myth #4: The administration of employee benefit plans is a lot of work

This can be true. Traditional group insurance plans require a fair amount of paperwork and it's your responsibility to make sure your employees enrol. However, if you choose to go the non-traditional route, you can get quality benefits and leave the administration to the insurance experts. 

Myth #5: Health insurance isn't that important anymore because employees want new perks such as remote work

While it's definitely true that today's workers care about holistic benefits, not just a pay cheque and a dental plan, health insurance is still incredibly valued. In fact, 8 in 10 Canadians value health insurance above other insurance included in benefits packages. As well, some plans already come with or can be designed to include additional health and wellness benefits, such as an Employee Assistance Plan (EAP), your team will appreciate.

Your business is unique. What works for someone else might not work for you. The best way to figure out what's right for you is do your research, talk with your team, and work with a qualified small business advisor. On top of offering exclusive health plans you won't find anywhere else, Health Plus is a licensed broker and expert in small business benefits.