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Best health insurance for employees

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Last editedMay 20212 min read

As a business owner, you want to provide the best possible health care for your employees while following Affordable Care Act (ACA) guidelines. With so many health insurance companies on the market, how can you choose the best plan? Here are our top picks for small businesses.

Health insurance obligations for business owners

According to the ACA, any business employing at least 50 full-time employees must provide affordable health insurance. The definition of affordable in this case is no more than 9.5% of the employee’s household income. If you can’t find plans that fit within these guidelines, you’ll be held liable for a shared responsibility payment to the IRS.

Although businesses employing fewer than 50 employees don’t have to meet the same federal obligations, there are still multiple benefits to offering affordable health insurance. It makes your business more attractive to prospective employees, boosts retention rates, and leaves you with a happier, healthier workforce.

You should also be aware that each state holds its own requirements, so be sure to check that you’re following both federal and state regulations.

The best affordable health insurance

Here are a few of the top health insurance companies for small businesses, based on factors like coverage options, network availability, and features. You can take these factors into account as you compare health insurance quotes.

1. Aetna

Aetna offers a nationwide network, making it a good option for those seeking group coverage. It provides health insurance plans specifically geared for small business owners. Highlights include a choice of funding options, wellness offerings and stop loss protection.

2. Anthem

Another top choice is Anthem which is a managed health care company falling under the umbrella of the larger Blue Cross Blue Shield Association. While it’s only available in 14 U.S. states, Anthem does have an extensive network of doctors to choose from. The company focuses on integrated health care with combination plans and self-management. There’s also a strong online component with video chats and a 24/7 Nurse Line to phone for advice.

3. Blue Cross Blue Shield

You’ve probably already heard about Blue Cross Blue Shield, which is one of the nation’s largest providers covering one in three Americans. There are 36 independent health insurance companies that make up BCBS, (including Anthem mentioned above), which means that it can cover every zip code. It also partners with most hospitals and doctors, giving your employees a wide range of choice.

4. Cigna

One of the oldest health insurance companies, Cigna was founded in 1792 and operates worldwide. It has relationships with 1.5 million hospitals, providers, and clinics, which gives members plenty of choice. You can get health insurance quotes for HMO and PPO plans, along with Medicare and Open Access Plus networks.

5. Humana

Humana’s benefits for small businesses include an emphasis on preventative care. Individual health insurance plans come with the major benefit of 100% coverage when it comes to in-network preventative appointments. Additional highlights for your employees include virtual doctor visits, access to Humana pharmacies, and a large provider network. There are five plans for businesses to choose from, at a selection of price points.

6. United Healthcare

There are many reasons to get health insurance quotes from United Healthcare. It boasts a very expansive network with over 6,500 facilities and 1.3 million providers. It also invests heavily in technology, giving employees access to state-of-the-art treatments. Small business plans offer features like Virtual Visits and AI-driven advice.

How much does health insurance cost?

As you start to research options and compare health insurance quotes, you might be wondering what you can expect to pay. This depends on the size of your business, your location, and the level of care you’re looking for. Small business owners with fewer than 25 full-time employees can look at to apply for the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit. This helps out by crediting 50% of premiums paid.

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