Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2015 01 Wise Up Wednesday 1

Wise-up Wednesday from Zane Benefits: Why health benefits are important to you and your dental staff

Jan. 28, 2015
Health benefits are important to you and your dental staff. But why? This article discusses the true value of health benefits.
As a dentist, you know the value of the medical service you provide to your patients, but as a business owner, why are health benefits so important? Yes, health benefits help your dental practice’s employee retention, but why is that? This article outlines five ways health benefits are important to your dental practice, staff, and you personally.

1: Health benefits protect your finances
Health benefits protect your business’s finance and the finances of your employees. How? First, having health insurance coverage entitles you to discounted rates for medical care because insurance companies negotiate rates with health-care providers. Without coverage, the fee charged for a regular office visit can be twice as high for the same service with coverage.

Second, health insurance helps protect you and your staff from unexpected medical costs. Even if your health plan requires you to pay certain costs out of pocket, being covered can help save you from bankruptcy in the case of injury or hospitalization. According to a Harvard University study, medical expenses are the biggest cause of bankruptcy, representing 62% of all personal bankruptcies (2010). While having health insurance does not prevent medical bankruptcy 100%, it does help mitigate the costs of expensive medical treatments or injury.

2: Health benefits protect your health Generally speaking, health benefits improve your access to quality care. As a member of a health insurance plan, you gain access to a broad network of health-care providers. Health insurance also provides you with critical care. While uninsured patients receive emergency room care and are billed afterwards, they may not receive important treatment for a life-threatening chronic condition without payment up front.

Health insurance encourages a healthier lifestyle for you and your employees. For example, your employees may be more likely to take advantage of regular checkups and preventive care if they know it will be free or require only a low-cost copayment. This contributes to healthier employees, more productive work, and fewer sick days.

3: Health benefits protect your business
As a dental practice owner, health insurance shields your business from personal medical costs. An unexpected personal medical expense can be devastating to your business. By limiting personal liability for medical costs, health insurance can help keep your business operating during times of illness.

4: Health benefits help you recruit and retain employees
Offering health benefits to your dental staff also helps you hire and retain the most talented workers. Health benefits are a valuable enticement in a total compensation package.

5: Health benefits help you satisfy the requirement to have coverage
Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), small employers with fewer than 50 employees do not have to offer health insurance. However, the ACA does require all individuals to have health insurance. So when you offer access to health insurance, you’re providing a means for your employees to have health insurance coverage and be compliant with the ACA individual mandate.

New health benefit options for dental practices
Health benefits provide value to your business, but as a business owner you know there are big challenges with traditional group health insurance, namely cost and restrictive participation requirements. In fact, only 44% of small dental practices offer traditional group health insurance. Many small dental practices feel health benefits are out of reach.

The good news is there are new health benefit options for dental practices, including individual health insurance reimbursement. With individual health insurance reimbursement:

  • Your dental practice sets a contribution amount to employees’ health care (an “allowance”)
  • Employees purchase an individual health insurance plan of their choice
  • Employees are reimbursed for their premium expense, up to the amount in their allowance

This approach, also called “Defined Contribution Healthcare,” is attractive to dental practices because it allows the business to set a contribution of any amount to employees’ health care, and allows employees to purchase the health plan that best fits their needs. Costs are controllable year to year, and the practice receives all of the value of health benefits without having to purchase or administer a group health insurance plan.

In today’s workforce, health benefits continue to be important because they protect your finances, your health, and your business. They also help you take care of your valued dental staff. Yet many owners feel discouraged because they cannot afford or qualify for group health insurance. Individual health insurance reimbursement offers dental practices an affordable health benefit solution to recruit and retain valued staff without the cost or risk of group health insurance.

10 business management tips for dentists

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 the free guide The Dental Practice's Guide to Individual Health Insurance Reimbursement.”