How Much Does Group Health Insurance Cost?

The decision to offer group health insurance benefits to your employees starts with questions about the overall cost. After all, you need to remain profitable, and paying for medical coverage can certainly cut into your bottom line. However, with the numerous benefits of offering health insurance and the possibility of current government regulations forcing you to do so, it makes sense to explore all your options and find out how you can provide the highest quality insurance at the lowest price possible.

 

When the figuring out how much does group health insurance cost, you need to gather a lot of information before coming up with a final dollar amount. In general, both the employer and the employees share costs for all doctor’s visits, prescriptions, hospital stays, and any other necessary medical care.

 

Employees must pay the following for health insurance benefits:

 

  • Deductible – Money paid before the insurance policy starts paying
  • Copayment – Payments made directly to the medical service provider
  • Coinsurance – Percentage of all bills the insurance does not pay

 

If you represent a company interested in offering the best health insurance benefits to employees, it makes sense to minimize all three of these payments as much as possible. However, you cannot amply take on 100% of all medical bill responsibilities. Consider working with an employer benefit consultant to learn about all your options for overall savings.

 

Costs of Group Health Insurance for Employers

 

According to a survey conducted by the nonprofit National Business Group on Health in 2020, the average expenditure for employees is approximately $15,000 annually. For many workers, this is a considerable amount of money that would stretch their budget and uncomfortable amount. In order to minimize these expenses, the employer themselves can make smarter choices about the policies and packages they provide.

 

Some Options for Minimizing Insurance Expenses

 

Far too many businesses look to eradicate benefits in an attempt to save money. This backfires with employee dissatisfaction, retention issues, lack of value for jobseekers, and an overall hit to morale that can affect productivity and profitability.

 

Employers can save their workers money on health coverage with the following:

 

Health Savings Accounts

 

Individuals who put money aside in a tax-free account specifically designated for medical expenses can save money in the long run in conjunction with healthcare benefits that involve high deductibles. Your business saves money by not paying out earlier, and the employee can save money on their taxes and ensure they have enough cash on hand to cover bills.

 

Optional Supplemental Insurance

 

Supplemental insurance policies add options for employees who want to avail themselves of extra coverage. This may keep your expenses down to begin with as you do not have to pay the maximum for every worker in a shared cost plan.

 

Medical Expense Reimbursement Plans

 

Combined with a high deductible group health insurance policy, a self-funded MERP can bridge the gap between what the employer and employee have to pay. This works well because workers do not have to sacrifice coverage while saving money.

 

Many options exist for overall savings when it comes to offering health insurance policies to employees. Working with ClaimLinx and a professional consulting team who has a strong track record of success can help you reap all the benefits of an affordable plan and employee policy management.

 

Congress Passes First Joint Budget Agreement in 6 Years

For the first time since 2009, Congress is in agreement on its fiduciary goals for the country. This month, the Senate passed a budget agreement, the first joint budget resolution to be passed in six years.

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The proposal passed 226-197 in the House of Representatives and 51-48 in the Senate. All Democrats in the House and Senate voted against the agreement.

The proposal outlines deep cuts in domestic spending to eliminate the deficit within the next 10 years. It keeps in place the across-the-board spending cuts known as the sequester, but adds nearly $90 billion to a supplemental war fund that is not held to the budgetary curbs.

“No budget will ever be perfect, but this is a budget that sensibly addresses the concerns of many different members,” Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, said in a press conference.

There are, however, few indications these spending cuts will take hold in the immediate future. Budget resolutions are used as an outline to set spending levels on future separate appropriations bills.

President Barack Obama has said he will not sign any spending measures that keep the sequester in place. He has also said he wants to see equal increases in military and domestic spending.

White House press secretary John Earnest said the budget proposal would hurt middle-class families, which rely on the domestic programs Republicans hope to cut.

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“Congressional Republicans propose drastic cuts to programs that support the middle class and provide ladders of opportunity for those seeking to reach the middle class,” he said.

Also included in the budget was a procedural tool for passing bills known as reconciliation. This measure allows for legislation to pass through both chambers of Congress with a simple majority vote. Most bills will require 60 votes to overcome procedural challenges, and Republicans currently control 54 seats.

Republicans say they plan to use this tool to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act, despite the Obama’s vow to veto any legislation intended to unravel or repeal the health care law.

2014 Ends With Strong Employment Numbers

The year 2015 begins with a rosier economic outlook for many Americans, with the unemployment rate shrinking and more jobs being added to small businesses.

As of December 2014, the unemployment rate in the U.S. has dropped to 5.6 percent, the lowest it has been since June 2008, according to the National Employment Monthly Update.

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About 252,000 jobs were created in December, above average for rest of the year, though 2014 still saw a great deal of growth.

Overall last year, the unemployment rate dropped by 1.1 percentage points, and about 1.7 million people became employed.

A similar picture is reflected in the numbers the payroll provider ADP reported in its National Employment Report, which is derived from actual, anonymous payroll data of clients the company serves.

According to ADP 241,000 jobs were added to the private sector, with the greatest increase being seen in small businesses with 1-49 employees.

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In total, small businesses added about 106,000 employees, an encouraging statistic as these businesses make such an important contribution to overall economic growth in the country.

Employment data for January 2015 will be released in early February, but if the previous year is any indication, Americans can look forward to a better economic climate in the coming year.

Overburdened IRS Expected to Reach Record Low Customer Service

For 2015, Federal taxpayers can look forward to the worst customer service from the Internal Revenue Service in at least 14 years, according to a recent report.

National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Wilson released her 2014 Annual Report to Congress yesterday, which seeks to create a dialogue about taxpayer’s problems, protecting their rights and easing their burden.

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Most notable in the report was Olson’s expressed concern for the level of service to taxpayers in the coming year.

The IRS is expected to answer as low as 43% of the calls it receives, with those that do get through to a representative waiting as long as 30 minutes.

It’s a significant backslide from 2004, when the IRS reached a pique in its customer service. During that time, the IRS answered 87% of calls and call wait times averaged about 2.5 minutes.

The drop in service is largely due to increased workload and changed budgetary environment, according to Olson.

The IRS is receiving 11% more returns from individuals, 18% more returns from businesses and 70% more telephone calls than even 10 years ago.

Adding to this and future years’ workload is the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.

The IRS’s budget has been reduced by about 17% since 2010. As a result, the IRS has already eliminated almost 12,000 employees and is expected to further reduce its workforce in the coming year.

Simply put, there’s more work to do, with less people to do it.

“Taxpayers who need help are not getting it, and tax compliance is likely to suffer over the longer term if these problems are not quickly and decisively addressed,” Olson wrote.

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What this means for both businesses and individuals is that filing assistance from the government will be in short supply, to say the least.

It also means business owners concerned with tax penalties as a result of the employer mandate in the Affordable Care Act can sleep a little easier. Implementing these new tax laws will be a monumental undertaking for the already overworked IRS.

It’s a task only made more cumbersome as the GOP-dominated Congress continues to move forward in changing the current law’s requirements.

Optimism Grows for Start-Ups

According to a recent survey, Americans were more optimistic about starting a business in 2013 than in any year since 2001.

Of 5,698 U.S. adults polled from April-June, 2013, 47% felt there were “good opportunities” for starting a new business (up from 43% in 2012, and 25% in 2006).

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Stephen Bronars, an economist in Washington, D.C., notes that people are more likely to launch businesses during stronger economic times because they have greater access to capital from a bank, investor or family members.

Unfortunately, the survey findings conflict with a report released in April, 2014, that showed a decline in the creation of new businesses in the U.S. The study was done by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a Kansas City, Mo., advocacy group for entrepreneurship, and is based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Labor Department. The findings conclude that only about 476,000 new U.S. businesses were started each month in 2013, down 7% from 2012 and 12% from 2011.

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According to David Neumark, professor of economics at the University of California, Irvine, “it can be very difficult to measure” when a business starts using census data and other government sources. Some people may not report income taxes because their new businesses aren’t yet making any money.

Another factor in survey responses is how respondents define a start-up. Some may not consider a business a true start-up until it begins making money.

Please read the article by Sarah E. Needleman in its entirety here.