Four Tips for Selecting Health Insurance for Your Company

By Dr. Jay Parkinson

Small business owners have to make a lot of really tough decisions. Not the least of which is about health insurance for their employees. This can be really confusing, frustrating and mysterious process. It’s expensive; one mistake can cost tens of thousands of dollars for the company and the employees and it’s hard to know if one plan fits all or if the timing is right or which provider has the best coverage. These four tips will help small business owners as they approach this decision.

1. Know your employees. How old are they? Do they work out? Do they have families? Getting this information before you pick a plan can help make sure you have the right coverage so you don’t “overinsure” and end up covering things your employees don’t need.

2. Know where the money goes. Most small businesses have no idea where the money they spend on a health insurance plan really goes or how their employees are spending it. Is everyone using the plan for prescriptions, but no one is using the plan for glasses and contacts? This information can help you adjust your plan.

3. Take stock of the big picture. Don’t just look at the premium costs of a plan. It’s important to take a holistic view of what is being offered. Ask for specific examples of how an insurance company has helped businesses similar to yours. It’s important to fully understand exactly what they can bring to the table.

4. Make it personal. Smaller businesses without an HR department may require more support than larger companies. Know if your plan can provide this.

Dr. Jay Parkinson is the CEO of Sherpaa, a health care consultancy in New York City. Sherpaa uses a data-driven approach to help companies select their health insurance plan. For more information, visit