Choosing health coverage for your small business team doesn’t need to be complicated. Though selecting benefits isn’t normally considered to be a fun or easy process, there’s now an option that gives small businesses a better way to find plans that are both affordable and satisfactory for employees.
UnitedHealthcare has created a one-of-a-kind online shopping tool specifically for small businesses. The idea is to give small businesses the same abilities and advantages that large corporations get when choosing employee health coverage. The process is fairly straightforward and customizable for small businesses, so you can be sure to find the best possible plan options for your specific situation. Here’s a step-by-step guide for signing your small business team up for health coverage using UnitedHealthcare’s online shopping tool.
Compare Plans Online
With UnitedHealthcare, you don’t need to choose just one healthcare plan for your small business team. You can actually compare plans online and select two or more plans for your employees to choose from based on their own personal preferences. In some states, businesses can even give employees up to 27 different plan options.
UnitedHealthcare offers many different plan options that you can browse on the website. And you can even customize plans to better fit your business. If you need some guidance, the online shopping tool also offers features that you can use to see what similar companies offer their employees.
Get a Free Quote
While you’re looking at plans, you can also see basic pricing information to help you stick to your budget. And when you input your basic business information, such as location and number of employees, you can get a general price quote for the plan or plans you’re considering. However, you won’t be able to see an actual final number until you add more specific employee information.
Add Employee Information
To get that final quote, you can input your employee data manually or even upload it from software programs like Quickbooks or Xero. You’ll need to add information like employee age, gender, zip code and any family members that might go on their plans. Or you can just quickly upload that data from programs you already use, or even an Excel spreadsheet.
Set a Budget
Once all of your employee data is added, the online shopping tool will update your pricing information with real costs, instead of just a general quote. And from there, you can set a budget of what your business will actually cover for employees.
You can set a total budget of what you plan to pay each month and then divvy that up among your employees either by a specific dollar amount or an average percentage, depending on your state. So if you set a total monthly budget of $2,880 for your nine employees, you could cover about $320 per average employee each month. You can also make adjustments throughout the process to see how a smaller or larger monthly budget would impact the costs for both your business and your employees. Once you’re satisfied, you can confirm your plan choices and move on to the next step.
Create an Account
At this point, if you haven’t already signed up for an account, you’ll be asked to do so. This just requires you to set up a login and input some basic information. Doing this ensures that all of your preferences are saved and you can always come back to view your plan options and make any changes going forward.
Sign Up for a Plan
Once you’ve created an account and are satisfied with your plan choices and pricing, it’s time to complete the transaction. You can review all of your details to ensure that your choices are satisfactory for your business and employees. And then submit your business’s payment information to complete the purchase of coverage.
Give Your Employees Access
Then your plan options should be all set up for your team! So you can give your employees access to login under their own UnitedHealthcare accounts. From there, they can see all of the plan options that you selected and choose the one that best fits with their needs and budget. And they can complete their own purchase of healthcare coverage right on the online shopping tool as well.
Selecting healthcare coverage for your team may not be one of the most exciting aspects of running a small business. But choosing the right options can go a long way toward creating an environment where your team feels supported and fairly compensated for their contributions to your small business.
Also, an employee who knows their employer cares enough about the team to provide members with health insurance is usually more productive. Employees who receive benefits might work harder and be happier because they feel more secure at their jobs.
The UnitedHealthcare digital marketplace makes this process much less time consuming for small business owners who have so many other things to worry about on a daily basis. And using this option ensures that you can get the best coverage for your team and your budget at the same time.
The new program is so far only available in California, Arizona, Tennessee, Michigan, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Illinois and Florida. The company expects to add other states this year.
Healthcare Professionals Photo via Shutterstock
I hope that they do this in my old company. But then, it is not always the case. In some public instutitions, employees will hardly have the choice.
Well hopefully programs like this will make it easier!
I wouldn’t recommend a small business shopping on their own. Theres too many other considerations and regulations that need to be considered than just picking out a plan. Further an agent should be showing you all the options and all the carriers, and serve as an advocate and first line of defense between the carrier and issues that arise.