How to Purchase Small Business Health Insurance in NY

NY Small Business Health Insurance

At first you might be confused about how to purchase small business health insurance in NY.  Fortunately, there is help for business owners who wish to offer or manage health insurance benefits for their employees. First, lets go thru some requirements for eligibility and then we will delve into how to purchase a plan for your small business.

Who Qualifies for Small Group Health Insurance in NY?

Businesses in NY who employee between 1-100 full time equivalent (FTE) employees fall into the definition of a small business in New York. Any business with more than 100 FTE employees is eligible for the large group market.

Businesses whose workforce includes 1099 employees have the option to either include or exclude these workers in their calculations for coverage and eligibility.

There are limitations on businesses that have the owner or the owner’s spouse as the only enrollees on the group health plan.  

Are there minimum hours required for an employee to work to be eligible for coverage?

Yes, all carriers require you to work at least 20 hours per week in order to be considered eligible for group health insurance. Small businesses have the right to increase those hourly requirements as well, anywhere from 20-40 hours per week in fact.  This is helpful to the employer as they can determine what they can afford to offer in benefits for a certain hourly commitment by the employee.

Do I need to offer coverage to all employees, or can I offer only to a class of employees?

We already discussed that in order to be eligible, employees must work at least 20 or possibly more hours in order to qualify for coverage. But what if you only want to offer coverage to those who are in management let’s say? The answer is you can. Most carriers allow for a small business owner to CLASS OUT a section of employees that the business wishes to offer coverage to. The ‘class’ of coverage must not be discriminatory. For example, you can offer coverage only to salaried workers, or to management employees only. You could not for example offer coverage only to those under or over a certain age.

Now that you know what size companies are eligible, who in the company is eligible, and how many hours are required to work, it is time to shop for a plan.

How to shop for and purchase a small business health insurance plan?

While we might be a bit biased, using the services of a health insurance broker is the best way to shop for a small group health insurance plan for your business.

Why you ask? For starters, licensed health insurance brokers are free to use. That’s right, in NY health insurance rates are the same for a small business whether you deal directly with the insurance company, or whether you use the services of a broker! The carriers pay the brokers to do the work that they would usually have to do, such as enrollments, terminations, billing questions, and annual renewals as examples.

Health Insurance brokers specialize in working with both carriers and employers, basically acting as the liaison between the two. Brokers know the ins and outs and can help tailor a plan that includes providers that the employees and business owner are already using.

Finally, small business health insurance brokers have a proven system that starts with questioning the business owner.  They want to find out what the business owner wants to accomplish and what they are willing to spend, then put together options to help the company reach their goals. Once a plan or plans are decided on by the business owner, the health insurance broker will then assist in applying for the selected coverage. A broker’s help does not end there. They will continue to work with the business owners doing employee terminations and enrollments, helping answer coverage questions for new and existing employees, and most importantly will be there for many years during the important annual renewal times to assist in evaluating renewal options.

We hope this helps you understand the process by which you can qualify for, research, and enroll in small business health insurance in NY. Please call or email us should you wish to discuss health insurance options for your small business!