To say small businesses are important does not adequately express how vital they are to a community. In Ohio alone, there are almost one million small businesses. They make up 99.6 percent of all Ohio businesses and employ 2.2 million people—44.6 percent of the state’s overall workforce.
The average small employer has 10 employees, and taking care of them is vitally important, not only to the success of that small business, but also because owners often see their employees as an extension of their family. When I tell them it’s possible to provide similar benefits to Amazon’s, many are surprised. In fact, in the competition against larger organizations for talent, benefit packages can be their competitive advantage as well as a way to care for employees.
Do Small Businesses Need to Provide Health Insurance?
Business owners often ask me if small businesses have to offer health insurance. Although no U.S. company is required to offer employee health insurance, the federal government has instituted a system of tax incentives for those that do. However, despite these incentives, health insurance plans and administration, including those in the Health Insurance Marketplace, continue to be a challenge, particularly for small businesses with fewer than 50 employees. They often don’t have the internal resources or know-how to navigate these complex and confusing processes.
Major insurance companies and larger agencies usually focus on large business accounts. Unfortunately, despite generating 30-50 percent of consistent health insurance revenue in the U.S., small businesses are often left with a long list of things to do on their own and then forgotten or shuffled along by the insurance company or agent they hired for help, even in moments of crisis.
With that shift also comes increasing centralization of customer service for health plans. Calls are routed through phone trees to call centers in other states with representatives who come and go frequently and know little about the employer / employee and their situation. In addition, employees are increasingly funneled to completely impersonal chatbots, automated systems, and websites that may not provide the answers they need.
Small Business Owners Need a Health Insurance Broker Dedicated to Small Business
That’s where a health insurance broker and plan enrollment manager like AUI can help. We’re passionate about small businesses, and our mission is to support small business owners in their goal to attract, retain, and grow their workforce. We do this through a collaborative approach with the business owner, which involves learning about their goals for their team, their business, and themselves. In keeping with our motto, “Do Good. Be Good.,” we strive to help business owners get health insurance and create a culture that nurtures all aspects of the business and the community where it operates. For us at AUI, it’s more than just providing a service; it’s knowing our service has true impact.
Insurance people have a reputation of selling a product and disappearing when it comes to small business clients. Our industry often pays based on the number of employees enrolled in a plan. At the same time, the amount of work for a group of four and a group 400 can often be about the same. That’s AUI’s small business challenge, and it’s why we understand small businesses so well. We are one! For me, it is a puzzle we must solve because small business employers and their employees are too important to be ignored.
If you’re an Ohio small business owner, let AUI help you come up with a benefit strategy that is best for your organization. We’ll help you work through all the details, from plan selection and onboarding to requirements, deductions, and reimbursements. Request an appointment or call us at 330.645.6338 to discuss how to get small business health insurance and benefits.