Affording Health Care

No one can argue that the cost of health care (and gasoline, and heating oil, and natural gas, and bread, and beer, and on and on and on) is getting out of hand. Health care costs are expected to rise 10% in 2008. Yet, if a small business is going to compete with the big companies for the best employees, you have to find a way to provide it.  Here are some good tips from the Wall Street Journal Online.

Some insurers are offering discounts for healthy living.  Statistically, people who live healthy lifestyles don’t get sick as often.  Screenings for cholesterol and programs to quit smoking should result in lower health care costs, but the programs themselves can be too expensive for a small business.  Some insurers are providing these services at no charge and passing the savings on medical expenses along to the employer.

There are even some wellness programs that are available online.
  One company, My Wellchoice+ has a web site where employees can find advice on nutrition and meal planning and fitness plans.  The cost is about $3.00 per month per employee.  Alt Benefit Consultants, Inc. is another company that provides a similar plan as part of its health insurance programs.  Some programs even provide incentives for employees who use them.

Many companies, including Tacony Corporation, encourage their emloyees to take advantage of flexible-spending accounts, where the employee can set aside pre-tax dollars to be used for health-care costs that aren’t covered by insurance.  The problem, as with most government programs, is the paperwork.  Some companies are now providing debit cards that make flex-spending plans easier to administer.  The cards usually cost from $1.00 to $2.00 per month.

Health Advocates
, Inc. of Plymouth Meeting, PA provides health advisory service to small and mid-sized companies.  Employees can phone an advisor with questions about claims, options for treatment, and other insurance-related issues.  The cost?  $1.50-$5.00 per employee per month.

The article goes on to list some other options and offers links to some other health insurance articles.

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One Response

  1. When talking about private health care, I believe two factors meet there. There is good motivation of being healthy, because you can save lot of money – it’s good both for you and society. On the other hand, if preventive care consumes your insurance limit, you will try to avoid it. And that’s bad. I believe the best way is to provide prevention care for free…
    Lorne

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