What exactly are Employee Benefits? I thought the benefit was the paycheck? Is there more?
Employee benefits are things like dental, prescription drug coverage, massage therapy, life insurance and disability coverage. At some point we may have worked for a company that provided us with these benefits. We were given a little wallet card that we showed to the dentist or the pharmacist and whether we realized it or not, we only paid about 20% of the actual cost of the treatment or medication.
If you’re reading this page, there is either nothing on TV, or you are interested in getting a health and dental package. If you are self employed and don’t have health coverage anymore, you can get it for your business. Many one or two person family-run businesses can set up a small employee health plan to cover these costs.
What are the advantages?
Premiums on health and dental plans are a deductible business expense. Instead of paying for dental work with after-tax dollars, set up an insurance plan and pay premiums with pre-tax dollars. For most families that see the dentist regularly, it is far cheaper to pay premiums and get the deduction, than to “pay as you go” with after tax dollars.
You said “Families”? Does that mean that even if my spouse and children don’t work for my business, they can be covered as well?
Yes, a sole proprietor working on his own can set up a 1-person group and add his spouse and children as dependants for the Health and dental component of the plan.
Besides prescriptions, what are some other costs that are covered?
A typical extended health plan covers a variety of medical expenses, but the common ones are: Massage therapy, chiropractor visits, physiotherapy, acupuncture, etc. Most plans also provide travel health coverage, and coverage for medical equipment, such as braces, wigs, crutches, and slings.
What if I have employees?
Many employers decide to offer health and dental plans to their staff. A health plan is a great way to attract and retain staff. The business can write-off the premiums, and the staff don’t have to claim it as a “taxable benefit”. The only exception is Long Term Disability premiums; for tax reasons, most employers deduct the cost of this benefit off their employees’ paychecks.
What if some of my employees have pre-existing medical conditions?
When dealing with larger groups, (usually a business with 3 or more employees), many insurance companies waive the medical questionnaire on the healthcare component of a plan. Someone that may not be able to get an individual plan to cover a particular expense can have it covered if they belong to the larger group plan. When insurance companies insure a group of employees, they take the good with the bad. That’s how someone who has had six heart attacks can still get coverage at work, but when they apply as an individual they get declined.
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