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Wise-up Wednesday from Zane Benefits: Health benefit options for dental practices in 2016

Jan. 27, 2016
This overview of health benefit options will help you begin the process of selecting health insurance for your dental practice employees.

For most human resource administrators, the start of a new year means reevaluating your organization’s health benefits. If you have not yet determined your best plan of action for 2016, there are several paths to explore. Don’t forget that most of these options have definitive enrollment dates to take into consideration.

Individual policies

Traditional options for employer health care coverage include Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) and Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs). However, with ever-increasing premium rate hikes and the hassles involved in maintaining these policies, more businesses are opting to do away with these group plans.

Many dental practices now encourage their employees to purchase individual health care policies, and the employer then sets up a reimbursement plan to defray or fully cover this cost. You can set up an employee reimbursement plan anytime you want, but open enrollment for individual policies is only available through January 31 for coverage starting March 1.

SHOP Marketplace

If your dental practice employs 50 or fewer people, you may want to consider the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace in order to offer them group coverage. This choice, which calls for the employer to select a plan on behalf of the employees, is often a more cost-effective approach for large businesses with a young workforce.

Traditional group options

With January nearly over, you may want to explore your health care alternatives more thoroughly before switching from your traditional group policy to an individual or SHOP program. Alternately, you may want to keep your existing group policy but make it more affordable for your employees. If this sounds like you, here are two ideas:

1. Health Savings Account—If you currently oversee an HDHP (high-deductible health plan), consider offering a Health Savings Account, or HSA, to help your employees pay for certain medical costs. Both employee and employer can deposit funds into an HSA. The money is tax deductible and can be rolled over from year to year. Furthermore, after your employees turn 65, they can withdraw unused HSA funds for any reason they choose without penalty.

2. Health Reimbursement Arrangement—A Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) is another alternative to help reduce traditional group policy costs for employees. In contrast to an HSA, only employers contribute funds to an HRA, and employees who leave the organization forfeit funds that go unused.


With these health benefit options in mind, you will be able to begin the process of selecting health insurance for your dental practice. After a thorough review of your employee’s needs and preferences, you can then determine which direction is best for your staff.

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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. For more human resources tips and best practices, download Zane Benefits’ complimentary guide.