Health insurance is a major cost of doing business in the United States. Premiums are soaring, coverage is dwindling and insurance costs overall increase year after year. For small businesses, the healthcare costs are higher per employee than large corporations, making this expense even more difficult to shoulder.

Small business health insurance is a huge expense. Often times though these benefits play a big role in attracting better employees and retaining your existing workers. If you’re looking to reduce costs, we’ve got a few ideas that might help employees be healthy and save you money in the process:

  1. Wellness Programs

    Prevention programs pay back ten-fold and will always save your company money. They can range from a gym membership for employees to a comprehensive wellness program that includes well visits, blood tests, cancer screenings and disease management for common ailments like asthma and diabetes.

  2. Telemed

    Telemed service makes it easy to have a medical professional on call 24 hours a day. This prevents unnecessary emergency room and urgent care-center visits by employees. Instead, employees can stay home and call a nurse first to get the help they need and still save money.

  3. Mental Health Incentives

    Stress, anxiety and depression are expensive and detrimental to productivity. In a world where 1 in 5 Americans is diagnosed with a mental health condition, promoting good mental health can improve your entire company. Promote a good work/life balance, offer breaks throughout the day, and be flexible with employees who may need additional assistance.

  4. Employee Assistance Programs

    An EAP, or Employee Assistance Program helps employees deal with the issues in their life that are distracting them from work. It can help with marital issues, insomnia, stress-related health issues and even substance abuse but they aren’t often talked about at work. Make it available and make sure your employees know about it.

  5. Consider Health Savings Accounts

    This is a great way for small businesses to provide adequate coverage at a lower cost. This is an opportunity to give every employee a tax-exempt account to save for their own medical costs while giving them an additional tax break.

  6. Get a group

    The greater the number, the lower the cost, so check out neighbors or other small businesses to see if they’d like to purchase a group plan together.

  7. Audit your premiums

    Make sure you are paying for your employees and their legitimate dependents. It’s worth it to double check each employee to be sure you’re not paying for parents, neighbors or friends.

  8. Cover generic drugs only

    This is a small change but can make a big difference in your costs. Most Americans choose generic drug prescriptions anyway, and wouldn’t notice a difference. For employees who need specialized prescriptions, encourage use of a Health Savings Account to cover their additional expenses.

Providing health-insurance benefits is key to employee retention, but rising costs makes it a challenge. Find creative ways to provide for your staff and manage your own costs at the same time.

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