Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2015 03 Individual Health Insurance 1

Wise-up Wednesday from Zane Benefits: How your dental practice can transition to individual health insurance

March 25, 2015
If your dental practice is transitioning to individual health insurance, here are the perfect tips to make your switch smooth and advantageous.
As the owner of a dental practice, you’re used to change. From new and innovative technology entering the industry to expanding your staff, you’re practically a pro at adapting when there’s a need. When it comes to transitioning to individual health insurance, however, you may be wondering the best way to do this so you and your employees can feel comfortable.

So, to ensure a smooth transition, we’ve conjured up several ideas and tips to help you feel confident.

Cancelling your group policy
Cancelling your group policy may sound intimidating, but it’s not. The good thing is that all of your covered employees will be eligible for a special enrollment period for individual health insurance. This means they’re able to purchase individual health insurance outside of the normal annual open enrollment period.

Make sure your employees are in the loop and understand the special enrollment period in order to avoid any confusion and ease any of their concerns that may come up.

Educating your employees
Once you’ve cancelled your group health insurance policy, your employees will want to know where to go from there. Fortunately, you’ll be ready to point them in the right direction.

Where should you start? First, you’ll need to inform your employees about the advantages to individual health insurance – they need to see why it’s a good move. While individual health insurance plans are not new, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) creates new advantages that make individual health insurance just as good, if not better, than the group health insurance you may have been offering previously.

New advantages of individual health insurance are:

• Coverage of pre-existing conditions (employees cannot be denied coverage or charged more because of a medical conditions
• Coverage of essential health benefits (a core set of health benefits and services)
• Employees may keep their policy when switching jobs
• Employees can choose the policy that best fits their family’s needs, including the network of providers and level of coverage
• Individual health insurance costs less, and employees may be eligible for a premium tax credit to assist them with the cost of monthly health insurance premiums

4 tips to ease the transition to individual health insurance
You’ve educated employees on individual health insurance and have made the switch, now the question becomes, what can you do to ensure the transition is smooth? Here are four tips:

Individual health insurance reimbursement – Did you know you can reimburse your employees tax-free for their premiums through a premium reimbursement program? Individual health insurance is already less expensive than traditional group health insurance plans, but reimbursing your employees for all or a portion of their monthly premiums is a great way to make them happy and ease the transition. Benefits of reimbursing your employees’ premiums are:

  • Feels like a real, structured health benefits program
  • Tax-free for employees (saving of 20% to 40%)
  • No payroll taxes for employers (savings of 7.65%)

Communicate effectively ­– Because change is often difficult for employees, it’s important that you are an open book with your staff as you change to individual health insurance. This means you will need to welcome questions, comments, and suggestions. Be prepared to help your employees see the benefit of individual health insurance.

Make sure leadership is on board – Treat your transition to individual health insurance like any other change – make sure leadership is engaged and on board. The more advocates you have for your health benefits approach, the more efficiently you will be able to implement it. Plus, your leadership can act as resources for questions as well.

Give examples – One of the best ways for your employees to transition to individual health insurance is to show them in real numbers how it is beneficial. In other words, put together some figures to show them how much they can save and how much the company saves by making the switch. Also show them how you’ll be allocating the dental practice’s savings. This can be done by contributing to premiums and adding new perks to the company, and can even go toward raises.

If your dental practice was not previously offering a traditional group health plan, you can simply show your staff examples of what they might pay and how it compares to group health insurance costs.

As you transition your dental staff to individual health insurance, remember that it’s important for them to see the big picture. Yes, individual health insurance may be saving you and your employees money, but money isn’t everything. Your employees will want to feel secure and know that this is the best decision for everyone and for the business.

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Wise-up Wednesday is presented bi-monthly from the experts at Zane Benefits. One Wednesday a month features Human Resource issues, and the other Wednesday discusses health benefits. Want more HR and business development tips for your dental practice?
Download this complimentary guide from Zane Benefits.