RX for Business

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These days, if you want to attract, recruit and retain the best beauty pros around and keep your business flourishing, providing health insurance is no longer an option but a necessity. So says Scottessa A. Hurte, the CEO and president of Itz Hair, whose company specializes in providing insurance to the industry. Here, she details the key steps to follow in order to find the best plan for your salon.



ASK THE STAFF

Check with your employees to ascertain what they're most interested in protecting. For example, if your staff includes mostly women who plan to have children, then maternity coverage definitely should be one of the benefits you look for when reviewing health insurance plans. By the same token, most group plans have a participation requirement, so unless you plan to pay 100 percent of the costs involved, make sure the coverage you select is one that employees will take part in.

EVALUATE THE BUDGET

Determine how much insurance you can realistically afford. For most group plans, the employer is responsible for paying 50 percent of the employee-only premium and the employee is responsible for the balance, but upon reviewing your budget, you may find that it's too expensive. If that's the case, you can opt to contribute a set amount towards employee coverage on a monthly basis. Remember to make sure the contribution level you choose allows for the hiring of new employees and be sure to talk to your tax consultant or accountant to determine the best way to implement it.

EXPLORE THE OPTIONS

When looking at major medical, which can take on several different forms, ask yourself if network restrictions will be a problem for your group; whether deductibles, co-pays or coinsurance are more important; or if the group has any special needs like prescriptions or seeing a specialist. You can then determine whether a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), or a Health Savings Account (HSA) is your best option. Of the three choices, PPOs have the most choices for deductibles, coinsurance and out of pocket maximums. Another option is the limited medical plan, which offers lower premiums than major medical, but is not intended for catastrophic coverage.

Options abound when it comes to health insurance so when in doubt, ask questions. Remember to take your time and if you're not comfortable with the choices that have been presented, keep looking until you find what fits your salon the best.