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What To Know About Offering Group Health Insurance To Employees

by Rick Mcguinness

Employers who meet certain requirements must offer health insurance plans to their employees, and even employers who don't meet these requirements can still make a plan available to workers. If you run a business, here's what you need to know about group health insurance, your business, and your employees.

Businesses That Fail to Provide Health Insurance May Face Penalties

The Affordable Care Act requires that businesses with 50 or more employees make health insurance available to their employees through a group health insurance plan that at least meets the minimum requirements of the act. Businesses that have at least 50 employees and fail to offer a plan can be assessed tax penalties.

Tax penalties themselves can be significant and eat into a business's profit, but this isn't the only reason to offer employees a group health insurance plan. 

Because large businesses are required to offer health insurance, many employees consider this a standard feature of a robust benefits package. If you don't make a plan available to your employees, they may view your company's benefits package as subpar. This could lead to top talent looking elsewhere for a job that offers health insurance coverage.

Only Full-Time and Permanent Employees Need Access to Health Insurance

If your business is required by the Affordable Care Act to offer employees health insurance, this requirement only applies to full-time employees who have worked at your company for a minimum amount of time. 

A group health insurance plan doesn't need to be offered to part-time employees, and you can require that employees complete a probationary period before receiving benefits -- including coverage through a group health plan.

Group Health Insurance Plans Don't Include Dental and Vision

Group health insurance plans are strictly health insurance plans, and they don't include dental insurance or vision insurance. While your business can offer dental insurance and vision insurance, it's not required to by the Affordable Care Act. This is why these insurances are kept separate.

Should you decide to offer employees dental insurance and vision insurance, these two policies might be presented alongside a group health insurance plan because employees will consider the three types of plans together. Each one can be paid for separately, though.

Employees Open Their Own HSAs

Should you choose a high-deductible health plan to offer employees, each employee can pair the plan with a health savings account. Employees are responsible for opening their own HSAs.

For more information on group health insurance plans, reach out to a local insurance provider.