Health Care Benefits

Along with time-off benefits, health care benefits are one of the most important and popular benefits to employees. While that's not enough of a reason to get them in and of itself, if you're vying for employees with particularly rare or valuable skills, it could play into your decision to offer them. Another good reason to offer them is because you can then take advantage of them yourself and get cheaper health insurance and some nice tax breaks for the contributions made by the business.

Did You Know?

A CCH/Gallup survey of 1,000 small business owners revealed that 50 percent offered health insurance benefits to employees.

Do you have to offer a health plan? Unless you are an employer in Hawaii, you are not required by law to offer your employees health insurance benefits. If, however, you decide to offer health insurance benefits, you call into play a whole series of laws that will tell you what coverage you have to offer and how you have to offer it.

Hawaii is the first, and so far only, state to require employers to provide health insurance to employees. The law, the Prepaid Health Care Act, was passed in 1974 and requires employers to provide health insurance to all full-time employees, either through an indemnity plan or an HMO.

Should you offer a health plan? The first decision to make is whether to offer health insurance at all. To investigate further, consider the following issues: