Small businesses looking for alternatives to pricey traditional healthcare plans may want to look to nonprofits and local hospitals for help.
In an attempt to reduce the disproportionate number of small-business employees who are uninsured, a growing number of programs have emerged that combine small business owners, nonprofit groups and local hospitals.
The collaboration provides medical services for enrollees at discounted rates by skirting the extra costs and fees of traditional healthcare plans.
Example: When the owner of a small Texas printing company couldn’t get her staff to enroll in the company’s healthcare plan, she opted for a unique type of coverage offered by the University of Texas Medical Branch hospital. The total cost of the plan is $180 a month for each employee.
Employees of the printing company paid $60 a month (plus co-pays), the employer picked up another $60 for each employer, and the remaining $60 was paid for by UTMB and a philanthropic foundation, the Houston Endowment.
The UTMB’s plan is unique in that it isn’t technically categorized as “insurance” under state law, so it isn’t required to cover certain types of care (inpatient mental-heath care, alcohol and drug treatments, etc.) and isn’t bound by state laws on how much cash it needs to have set aside in case claims increase.
In addition to UTMB, nonprofit groups in Colorado, Michigan and Minnesota offer similar healthcare options.
These types of plans may work extremely well for companies with younger, healthier employees. However, if your firm has any staffers with chronic conditions or serious illnesses, there’s a good chance this type of coverage will be insufficient.