The Top 20 Health Benefits Questions Asked (and Answered)

August 19, 2016
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Category: Ask Bud, Benefits

PEO Considerations

In August 2015, shortly after celebrating my 70th birthday, I partnered with our Content team here at Zenefits to write my first blog post for the company. Its title: How Does Providing Health Insurance Help My Small Business?

That single post would launch a year-long series of Ask Bud columns aimed to help business leaders tackle the tough questions related to employer health insurance and benefits plans.

Tens of thousands of readers later, we’re still taking your questions and publishing new answers each week.

Health benefits is one of those topics that can often be wildly confusing. My job, and the job of our entire team of benefits advisors here at Zenefits, is to help demystify insurance for our small business customers. We put things into simple terms for you and your employees to ensure you’re informed and able to make smart choices when it comes to selecting benefits.

So, to continue the tradition of helping you get the smart, simple information you need—and to celebrate the past year of content—we thought it would be fun to look back on the top questions asked since we started this column. I like to consider it my “Greatest Hits” album.

Keep reading to discover what questions were the most read, the most shared, the most talked about—and to submit your own for a column we might tackle next!

Ask Bud “Greatest Hits”: Top 20 Health Benefits Questions & Answers

1) How Does Providing Health Insurance Help My Small Business?

If you’re on the fence about providing benefits for your employees, this post is for you. It’s our most-shared Ask Bud column, and the reason we decided to produce more columns—an entire year’s worth, to be exact.

2) Can I Give My Employees Bonuses Instead of Health Insurance?

This post drove the most traffic (over 6K readers!), and also sparked the most conversation amongst our community over the past year, inviting 18 comments and even more shares. The topic is certainly a hot one, and the wrong move has gotten many businesses into hot water! Read more to avoid the same mistake for your business.

3) Will I Be Fined if an Employee Declines My Health Coverage?

Confused about what happens when an employee waives affordable, minimum value coverage? This post clarifies employer responsibility under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

4) Are We Required to Cover Insurance Mandates For Out-of-State Employees?

Out-of-state employees can add a level of complexity to your insurance. Here’s what you need to know about out-of-state insurance mandates and your policy.

5) How Do I Choose the Right Health Insurance Plans?

If you’re looking to set up insurance for the first time, or considering a switch in plans, this post will help ensure you’re factoring in the right criteria when evaluating health insurance plans for your company.

6) Why Should My Business Offer an HSA?

An HSA is a powerful tool for accumulating wealth to offset future expenses and a must-have piece of a competitive employee benefits package.

7) Can You Explain My Health Insurance Summary of Benefits and Coverage?

There are a few parts of a health insurance plan that everybody ought to know. Once you understand these 5 terms, you’ll have a major advantage.

8) What are Ancillary Benefits, and How Should I Prioritize Them?

Ancillary benefits like dental, vision, disability, and life insurance are part of a competitive benefits package. This post breaks down what employers should offer, in what order.

9) What Are The Pros And Cons of “Grossing Up” Employee Salaries With Short Term Disability Plans?

If Disability (STD or LTD) premiums are paid pre-tax, then benefits will be taxed. Read why in this post.

10) How Hard is it to Administer a 401(k) Plan?

Never let an administrative burden stand in the way of a great benefit! This post discusses solutions for managing a 401k plan.

11) Can Another Broker Get My Company Better Rates Than Zenefits?

Are brokers being honest when they say they can get you lower prices on insurance plans? In this post, we break down the realities of regulations and rates.

12) Can I Remove Employees From Benefits if Their Hours Drop?

An accurate headcount is crucial to compliance. This post explains how to use the lookback period to determine your amount of full-time employees.

13) How Do Multi-State Employers Handle Health Insurance Compliance?

Find out what multi-state employers need to know about health insurance so your company stays compliant across state lines.

14) How Do I Add My Spouse to Health Insurance?

Ah, the beauty of life changes! This one is a common question from employees, and one that’s got an easy answer. With modern benefits technology, adding a spouse to insurance can be done in just a few clicks.

15) How Do I Choose a New Health Insurance Broker?

Changing health insurance brokers need not be scary if you know what to look for. In this column, we break down a list of questions to consider.

16) Does a Change From Part-Time to Full-Time Affect Health Insurance Eligibility?

You may change an employee from part-time to full-time status. Here’s what you need to know about lookback periods and health insurance eligibility.

17) Do I Need Business Insurance?

Many small businesses have sunk because they missed the boat on business insurance. The right time to get business insurance is before a problem arises.

18) Why Should I Offer My Employees Short Term Disability Insurance?

Short Term Disability (STD) is one of the fastest-growing benefits. It’s critical to the financial health of the family, and less expensive than you think.

19) How Can I Perform a Year-End Health Benefits Checkup?

As year end approaches, conducting an end-of-year health benefits checkup is always in your best interest. This post provides a quick checklist for you and your employees.

20) What’s the Average Employer Benefit Contribution?

Employer benefit contributions vary widely by company size, industry, and other factors. This post shares national averages and context for the differences, which our customers love to consider when selecting plans.

Read More Ask Bud

Got a question about benefits and insurance? Send it to AskBud@zenefits.com.

The answers on Ask Bud serve as basic guidelines and are for informational purposes only. Bud is a treasure trove of knowledge, but is unable to provide legal, tax, or fact-specific human resources advice. Once a question is submitted, Bud and Zenefits reserve the right to accept, reject, edit, modify, or otherwise change it. All content on the Zenefits website, including questions received and answers provided by Ask Bud, are Zenefits property.

About

Bud Bowlin ran his own benefits agency for over 15 years and was regional manager at Rogers Benefit Group for over 20 years. Combined with time in the military and law enforcement, Bud has an expansive career of serving others. Having just celebrated his 72nd birthday, Bud is now focused on the Zenefits transition from being a digital broker to being a world-class provider of HCM SaaS software to companies. He has never felt younger.

Category: Ask Bud, Benefits, Featured


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