As a small business owner, you’re unique in many ways. You’re responsible for your bottom line, and many times on the front line for your employees. You feel the pressure of the personal struggles each employee faces every day.
One struggle many employees face today are rising health care costs. Employees are tightening their belts by cutting coupons and ultimately eliminating purchases that don’t qualify as necessities to make room for the unexpected. For some of your cash-strapped employees, this may mean scaling back on voluntary insurance plans or second guessing their ability to afford health insurance coverage at all.
Take a moment to consider that an estimated 15 million Americans emptied their savings accounts in 2013 to cover medical bills, while another 10 million didn’t have the money needed to pay for rent, food or utilities because of those bills.
Furthermore, the 2014 Aflac WorkForces Report found that nearly half (49 percent) of employees have less than $1,000 to pay for out-of-pocket expenses associated with an unexpected serious illness or accident, and 27 percent have less than $500.
As an employer, you can provide information to help your employees navigate these challenges. Offering this insight will not only show that you care about their well-being outside of the office, but also help relieve some of the same pressures you may be feeling yourself.
Below are four simple tips you can offer workers that can’t afford voluntary insurance coverage.
Find Money for Voluntary Health Insurance
Encourage Employees to Set a Monthly Budget and Stick to it
Running low on funds before payday arrives is not the ideal situation to be in. Employees can have a real forecast of their spending habits by keeping a record of regular expenses as well as incidentals, such as groceries and cosmetics.
At the end of a month, the log can serve as a guide for next month’s budget. The next time payday arrives it hopefully can be a pleasant surprise with extra monies to save for a rainy day instead of a possible financial setback.
Remind Your Workforce to Invest Time in Making Lunch, Not Just Buying it
That’s right, brown bag lunches are making a comeback. According to a Visa survey (PDF), the average employee eats out twice per week and spends an average of $10 each time, or $936 annually.
Although you may have noticed that your workforce prefers to break up the day with a restaurant meal, cutting back on lunchtime excursions can be a huge cost saver. Changing dining-out habits just a little can save hundreds of dollars per year.
Challenge Employees to Skip the Movie Theatre and Opt for a Home-Viewing Party Instead
Staying at home doesn’t have to be boring. Employees can turn their typical Friday night into a movie extravaganza! Over the summer, Americans purchased 585 million movie tickets at an average of $7.84 each.
With popcorn, candy and sodas for a family of four, the tab for a single film can easily top $50. Suggest your employees watch an old favorite or wait until films are available for home viewing. Not only will they save on ticket prices, but on treats, too.
Share the Benefits of Scaling Back on Weekly Gourmet Coffee Runs
Last October, a pound of coffee cost an average of $5.15, while the tab for a large or “venti” caffé latte at Starbucks was $3.95.
That means Americans who make a daily run to Starbucks before work shell out $79 in just four weeks. Cutting back on the gourmet coffee habit to three times per week can save nearly $32 per month.
Don’t Stop Here
These are just four examples of money-saving options that can help offset rising health care costs and add extra funds to your employees’ piggy bank.
Also, having a candid conversation with your employees can also reveal many more savings tips to build a nest egg that will benefit them.
Money Photo via Shutterstock
I agree that people have many opportunities to be more frugal, but it will sound hypocritical for an SMB that isn’t offering health insurance to recommend cost cutting areas so an employee can fund their own. So thanks for pointing these out and I hope employees read and deploy them.
It can also help if you let your employees save money. I know some talent agencies that makes it imperative to set aside 20% of their income for their savings. This makes it easy for them to save without even thinking about their money.
Good points. I’ve also heard this kind of insurance actually promotes 401(k) particpation since employes have less worries about covering medical bills.