small business insurance

A Guide To Small Business Insurance

If you are running a small business, you must also know about the commercial insurances you might need for the safety of your small business. It is important to make the right choice about the insurance plan that covers all your needs. Choose the right insurance policy for your business that fits your needs and protects you and your workers in case of accidents, loss, or pertinent risk.

 

Types of small business insurance

Following are the basic types of insurance best for your business and your workers.

  • General Liability
  • Property Insurance
  • Small Business Health Insurance
  • Errors And Omissions Or Professional Liability
  • Workers’ Compensation

 

General Liability Insurance

A general liability policy is designed to help cover legal costs or any settlement amount if your business is in any legal problem.

It usually covers claims that are made on activities or operations of a small business, for example:

  • Bodily Injuries
  • Property Damages
  • False Advertising
  • Libel And Slander

General liability also helps you provide coverage for legal matters like paying for lawsuit costs, settlement costs, monetary and non-monetary damages, compensatory damages. These expenses are covered by your respective insurance company whether they are due to an employee or a class-action lawsuit.

 

Errors and Omissions Insurance or Professional Liability Insurance

Errors and omissions insurance also called professional liability insurance, is a type of small business insurance that can assist in defending a business against expenditures due to lawsuits and claims filed by customers and clients.

Professional liability insurance covers liabilities that might result as a result of risk factors in your business. It is always strongly recommended to get errors and omissions insurance for your small business to protect your business against any unforeseen major claims.

 

Small Business Health Insurance

  It is essential to take care of employees’ health to keep your business up and running. Health insurance covers the medical and emergency hospital costs of your employees and provides coverage for medical bills.

Small business health insurance, also known as group health insurance, provides medical coverage and health benefits to employees. Your company can be eligible for this insurance if you hire one common-law worker that is not the owner of the business, neither the owner’s spouse nor an independent contractor. Moreover, a business must register officially according to the state laws in which they are doing business.

 

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Workers’ compensation insurance is designed for the management of expenses of workers in the workplace.  It covers the medical expenses of any employee who gets ill or injured during work. It also helps compensate partial wages for the sick employee or disabled one. This type of insurance can also help compensate the family of a deceased employee who died from any work-related injury.

 

Property Insurance

Property insurance provides coverage and manages costs of your property due to hazards like fire, earthquake, or vandalism. The physical disasters covered by insurance depend upon what are the contents of the package you choose for yourself. This type of insurance specially fits the business requirements that have a physical location to run their business. If you lose your property due to an accident or natural hazard, the insurance company covers all costs for its restoration along with the technology, furniture, and all the items required in it. The insurance company will pay for the restoration and repair of the building in case of any incident that causes damage to business property.

self-funded-merp

Advantages of Having a Self-Funded MERP

As a result of millions of people all around the world losing their jobs and subsequently their insurance due to the current public health crisis caused by COVID-19, which is also the case in the US, an alternative of health insurance that has come to the forefront is what is known as Medical Expense Reimbursement Plans or more easily referred to as MERP.

Predominantly, MERP has become very popular amongst employers lately. This is mainly because with MERP, organizations have the leeway to provide tax-free money, as opposed to providing conventional benefits such as group insurance. This entails the employees of the organization having the discretion to buy whatever product or service pertaining to health care as they prefer, which may also include health insurance for themselves. The employer, then, is responsible to reimburse their employees up to the allowance they have been given. 

To help you grasp the concept of what MERP exactly is, how they work, and what are the advantages associated with them, this article contains a breakdown of all the necessary details. 

Shall we begin?

What exactly is a MERP?

To start off, the term MERP stands for Medical Expense Reimbursement Plan. This is any sort of insurance plan that requires businesses and employers to reimburse their employees for the medical expenses that they or a dependant of their paid for out of their own pocket. When executed properly, a MERP will allow employees to be reimbursed for the entire medical expense, entirely free of any taxes.  

How do MERPs Work?

A MERP is any plan that allows businesses to give their employees without any taxes applied to the amount. The money that is given by the employer can only be used to pay off any medical expenses that an employee paid for out of their own pockets. The process of a MERP typically involves five main steps:

Step 1: Your employer will determine the allowance amounts- this means the set amount of monthly allowance that is allowed for each employee; should the medical expenses of an employee exceed the allowance limit, the employer will only be liable to reimburse the employee for the allowance that was predetermined. 

Step 2: As the employee, you will have to purchase your own health insurance plan- meaning you will have the discretion to choose whatever health care products best serve your needs and requirements. This purchase, however, will be paid for from your own pocket for the time being. 

Step 3: You will be required to provide proof of purchase- once you have made the purchase for your preferred health care products, you will be asked to provide documentation recording that a medical expense was incurrent. This document could be anything from a receipt to an explanation of benefits. However, regardless of the type of document, there should be three key pieces of information present in the document, including the date of the purchase, a description of the health care product or service that was purchased, and your name.  

Step 4: Once the document has been submitted, it will be put under review by your employer- this is done so that the employers can make sure that the amount of allowance is not exceeded, the type of product or service purchase qualifies to be reimbursed for under MERP and that all the important information is present. If the documentation is missing anything, you may be asked to submit additional records.

Step 5: You will be reimbursed by your Employer- after reviewing to make sure all information is present and valid and everything else is in, your employer will pay you up to the amount that was required by your predetermined allowance. 

What are the various types of MERPs?

Before this point in the article, we have discussed a MERP as an umbrella term for any plan under section 105 that dictates that the employer reimburse their employees for the medical expenses paid for out of their own pockets. In this following section, we will take a deeper dive into MERP and take a look at the various types of MERPs that exist out there. 

The following are a few of the most commonly used variations of MERPs:

Stand-alone MERP

A stand-alone MERP, otherwise also known as a stand-alone HRA, refers to any plan that is provided for by the employer where they reimburse employees for health insurance policies that have been purchase for their individual selves. These are MERPs that only cover personal medical expenses as opposed to group health insurance. This way, employers can offer their employees amazing benefits without having to raise their own costs and dealing with the intricacies of insurance.  

A MERP that covers group health insurance

This type of MERP that is coupled with a group plan is also referred to as group coverage HRAs, Deductible HRAs, or Group HRA. This is where employers bundle a MERP with group health plans that typically come with high deductibles. In this variation of MERP, the employer will increase the deductible to an even higher amount on the group health plan. Then, you as the employee will be paid in the difference between the deductible and your allowance. This provides an effective avenue for employers to insure a part of their group plan through dollars before the taxes on them are paid, which allows for huge savings without compromise on the coverage being provided. 

MERPs that exclusively cover Vision and Dental expenses

Even in the case of MERPs, there are only certain types of medical expenses that qualify the employee to receive reimbursement. This type of MERP comes in handy if your employer wants to cover you for your vision and dental expenses without having to purchase expensive insurance plans. 

The Advantages of Self-Funded MERPs

Employees get choice and flexibility 

With MERPs, employees have the discretion to choose whatever health care products meet their needs the best so that the plans can be tailored to requirements and no coverage goes unused.

The company stands to gain financial benefits

Unlike in the case of fully-funded insurance plans where the employer will have to pay the entire premium, in MERPs, they are only required to pay for the expenses that were incurred without incurring any sunk costs.

Employees make better health care decisions

When employees are required to pay for their medical expenses out of their own pockets initially, and they are restricted to a set amount of allowance, they are better prone to learning how to make better and more informed decisions about their health and the health products they purchase.