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3 steps to find the right healthcare plan for your start up

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Health insurance is often an overlooked cost when it comes to being part of a startup. Most entrepreneurs want to spend every minute they can coding, talk to customers, selling, networking, etc.  However, as you think about growth, it is important to consider that there are a number of different plans out there for startups, and it is important to pick a healthcare plan that fits your startup’s personality, capabilities and financial wherewithal.  Here’s an overview of a few sites, and comments that can help with picking out the right healthcare plans.

I’m a small start up – do I still need it?

In short, it is good to have.  Health insurance is important to have for regular check-ups as well as the emergency situations that may arise out of the blue even if you’re young and healthy. You just never know.  Also, as you think about employing people, health insurance becomes important to have.  While the legal requirements vary by state and you should look into them, many states now mandate that even the self employed must get health insurance under the new healthcare legislation.  But nevertheless, it’s probably a good idea to get health insurance if your start up is any size and it helps provide comfort that if  someone gets sick, there is a safety net.

What types of details should I look for in various plans?

A good first step is to look over this list of questions that cover most of the important factors involved in picking a program. By considering these questions, it’ll help to clarify your company’s needs.

  • Does the health plan utilize a network of providers? Is my current provider part of that network?
  • Will I have free choice of all type of providers?
  • Will I be required to get a referral to see specialists?
  • What happens if I live part of the year in a different state?
  • Will this plan cover expenses when I am traveling?
  • What will my total cost be each year?
  • Are there deductibles? What is the maximum out-of-pocket costs? Are there copays? Is there coinsurance?
  • What services does the policy cover? Does it cover prescription drugs? Are there limits on the number of days the company will pay for these services?

Since startup workforce demographics likely skew younger (and hopefully healthier), there is a preference for plans that have low visits and high deductibles, and hence lower premiums. But of course, this is a personal decision for your startup and your employees.
Is there anyone who can give me good advice?
Sometimes, it is important to get a professional opinion as a starting point. Most healthcare insurance agents are happy to provide a free consultation, so here are a few links that can help find various insurers in your area.

  • There are several websites that can help find a healthcare underwriter. The,, and . Meeting with an advisor for a free consultation is generally a good way to find out the direction and types of premiums you should look for.
  • Lastly, its great to listen to others for advice. There’s a great post by Sachin Agrawal, the founder of , a blogging platform. He discusses his struggles with getting adequate healthcare and debate the point of visits and 

Any tips for New York area startups?

  • Brooklyn Health Works has a great program for northern Brooklyn’s employees. Read more 
  • Healthy NY is a New York State program that helps cover businesses for 12 months before they need to give health insurance to employees. Find out more 
  • Health pass also has a program that helps cover small business for several months with a wider range of options than Healthy NY. More information
  • LIA health insurance gives access to 5 insurer plans. It focuses on small business in .
  • Working today is a freelancer’s union that gives group health insurance to various temporary workers. Read more 

How can I conduct due diligence on the insurers?

provides an insurance look up tool that helps make sure that it has a reputation for being good to its customers. It’s a great site to check out other insurers in your area too.

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