Many small companies say no to health coverage for employees


Many New Jersey business owners want to keep their employees happy. After all, when employees are happy, they are more motivated and productive. However, many small companies, unable to afford rising insurance rates, have been forced to cancel group medical insurance policies for employees. Instead, many are looking to alternatives, such as health benefit exchanges.

The change is prompted by President Obama's Affordable Healthcare Act, which requires every United States resident to have health insurance. Although many employees may be upset by the changes to their health benefits, the change could actually be in their favor. Although it puts the burden of selecting healthcare insurance on the employee, they get many more options than they did in the past. Instead of choosing from only a handful of carriers, health benefit exchanges allow employees to choose from dozens of plans to fit their budgets and medical needs.

It can be a win-win situation because employers typically still provide employees with contributions toward the premiums. However, many employees fear that choosing the right benefits package for their family can be complicated and time-consuming.

Health benefit exchanges aren't just for employees at small businesses. Even large companies such as Walgreens, Trader Joe's and IBM are moving their employees to these exchanges. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees are exempt from providing employees with health insurance.

There are many concerns that small business owners face. Keeping excellent employees is always important, but at what cost? How much money should companies spend on employee benefits? Where does a small business draw the line, especially when it's still struggling to become profitable? A company should determine which is more important -- employees or the bottom line.

Source: King 5, " Small businesses consider dropping health plans under Affordable Care Act," Elisa Hahn, Sept. 18, 2013