As a business owner and entrepreneur, I have found health insurance to be one of the most important considerations when starting and maintaining a business. There are many new roofing contractors out there starting their own businesses and many others that have been struggling to provide health insurance for themselves and their employees for years if not decades.
When possible, I believe this is one of the greatest benefits an employer can offer. For the first time in our lives, in 2017, as a family we had to go out on the market since both my husband and I were self-employed at the same time in our careers. It was not an easy or inexpensive task. I realized how hard it is for business owners and individuals to afford and maintain this incredibly important basic need.
I believe it is a benefit that employees too often undervalue and/or underappreciate until it is too late. When it is no longer available, it becomes very obvious just how important this type of employee benefit is for individuals and families alike.
To that point, I think it is important to share how health insurance works, the costs involved and how each employee can better manage their own health care expenses. I learned this from a very smart HR specialist who challenged every employee to ask what it costs when visiting doctors, getting procedures or picking up medications. That $10 copayment can lead people to think that $10 is the entire cost, but without insurance, that medication can cost hundreds of dollars.
Working together with employees to understand how they can lower health risks by stopping smoking and/or unhealthy habits plus adding regular exercise can make a huge difference in saving their lives and bringing down the cost of the company’s health insurance premiums. Also, providing strong education on how to use Health Savings Accounts (HSA) can also provide important tools for employees to not just understand health insurance but also empower them to manage it for best results.
In a past job, when I was working with this very smart HR professional, she really taught me the importance of educating employees on how to make the most of their benefits and how it is almost always a savings for the company. It is a partnership where employers and employees work together to make the most of company money. Together they can help build revenue and profitability by having educated personnel who know the questions to ask and realize that they are not on their own to figure out the insurance world. They have a strong employer working with them to keep them healthy, safe and prosperous.
Heidi Ellsworth is owner of HJE Consulting Group and a partner in RoofersCoffeeShop.com. See her full bio here.