This episode is brought to you by PAR. The Feifer Assessment of Writing examines why students may struggle with writing. The FAW and the FAW screening form are available on PARiConnect-PAR’s online assessment platform. Learn more at parinc.com\faw.
Hey everyone. I am back with another episode around hiring and employee stuff and how to take care of your folks. Today, I’m talking about ways to offer benefits to your employees. I get a lot of questions about benefits. And honestly, a lot of [00:01:00] misconceptions are out there about who we can offer benefits to, how to do it, what it looks like. So I thought I’ll do a quick episode to dive into benefits and what those might look like in your practice.
If you’re a practice owner who is looking to grow or expand or even start a practice, I am continually enrolling folks in Testing Psychologist Mastermind cohorts. There’s a beginner, an intermediate, and an advanced group. They are getting started as soon as the next cohort fills. So you don’t really even have to wait that long. If you are interested, you can schedule a pre consulting call or pre-group call at thetestingpsychologist.com/consulting, and we’ll figure out which group might be a good fit for you.
All right. Let’s jump into [00:02:00] this discussion around benefits.
Okay, getting right down to it. This is going to be a pretty quick episode, I think. But the intent is just to dispel any myths about benefits and give you some quick ideas about how to get started offering benefits in your practice if you would like.
As we get started, I want to say that I will generally be talking about how to offer benefits to W2 employees. It is possible to offer benefits to 1099 Independent contractors. It gets a little trickier but it is doable. So, that’s the most I’m going to say about [00:03:00] offering health care or health benefits to contractors, but there are a number of resources out there that could be helpful if you’re thinking about going that direction, but there are some implications as far as conditions that have to be met and tax implications and so forth. So for today, we’re going to mainly be talking about employee benefits and how to do that.
One of the first misconceptions that I run into is folks who assume that they have to offer benefits to all of their employees or any of their employees. So that’s the first thing. You do not have to offer benefits to your employees. If your business is a small business with less than 50 employees, you are not mandated to offer health insurance or any other kind of benefits to your employees. [00:04:00] Just know that right off the bat.
The second misconception that I run into a fair bit is that if you do offer health insurance, that you have to cover the entire premium for each of your employees. This is also not true. So you can enroll in a small business health insurance plan and offer it to your employees without the guarantee of covering their premiums.
Now, most employers do cover at least a portion of the employee premiums. So let’s say you have an employee who enrolls in your small business health insurance plan and their premium is $400 a month, you could opt to cover $100, $200, $300, or you can cover the whole premium if you’d like. So there are options for how much you would cover your employees premium. And like I said, you don’t have to cover any [00:05:00] necessarily. You can also structure it where you cover more of the premium for different types of employees. So, full-time employees versus part-time employees and things like that.
So there’s actually a good deal of flexibility. If you decide that you do want to offer benefits through a small business health insurance plan, there’s a good bit of flexibility about how to do that and how much you might have to pay for that.
Now the second piece is whether you want to actually offer a small business health insurance plan or not. You do not have to. There are other options aside from just doing an employer-sponsored health insurance group plan that you could consider. And this is another misconception that I see [00:06:00] relatively often.
So, there were basically three options for small businesses to offer health insurance or health benefits. One is, I think the most traditional model that you’re probably used to, if you’ve ever worked at a job full time as an employee, you were likely offered health benefits through the employer. That’s certainly doable. You can look on the exchange, the healthcare.gov exchange, and find small business plans. I included a link to that in the show notes. So you can check that out. It’ll ask you to give your location and then it will point you in the right direction to figure out some plan options that are available. So these are traditionally plans that are administered through the major employers. It might be Anthem, Optum, Aetna, Cigna, and so forth, Kaiser in some areas. [00:07:00] So you can check that out and see if any of those plans fit your practice.
If you choose to go that route, you would likely get in touch with an insurance broker who could help bridge the gap and serve as a liaison for your practice as you set up your health benefits for your employees. That’s the option that we have gone with. So at this point, we are offering a number of different health insurance plans, and people are allowed to opt-in and the practice covers a varying degree of their premium depending on their work status or employee status here.
But if you don’t want to go that traditional route, which is totally fine, there are other options that you might consider. So one of those options that you can consider is called a QSEHRA. It stands for [00:08:00] Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangement. And this option is actually very similar to the other option, which is an Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangement, or ICHRA. I can’t think of a clever way to blend those letters. So, ICHRA or a QSEHRA.
And these are very similar. So these are both plans that are not formal insurance plans. They’re reimbursement plans. So, these are options for you as the employer to reimburse your employees for health insurance or health coverage expenses that they take on. So in both of these plans, you can set a monthly allowance that gives you the maximum amount that your [00:09:00] organization will pay into their account. In each of these plans, the employees themselves purchase healthcare. They would likely go out on the exchange and find whatever plan suits them the best. So you’re not, again providing the health care plan. They have to submit reimbursement requests. You have to review those and then generally, you can reimburse them tax-free. So, it’s still a tax-free reimbursement, which is great. It’s similar to paying their premiums for a formal health insurance plan in that it’s it is tax-free. So that’s fantastic. It does not count as income. And that is a plus.
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All right, let’s get back to the podcast.
Differences are kind of hard to navigate or hard to nail down, to be honest. I mean, there are some small differences between the two. I think the biggest one is [00:11:00] that the size of the organization comes into play. So if you have fewer than 50 full-time employees and you cannot offer a group insurance policy, then you are limited to a QSEHRA.
The second option, the ICHRA is open to employers of all sizes. And you can also offer a group health insurance policy to some of your employees and the ICHRA to others as long as you have those different classes of employees well-defined.
Let’s see. As far as employee eligibility, all full-time employees with the QSEHRA and their families are eligible. [00:12:00] You can also extend it to part-time employees. That’s what a lot of practices will do. With the ICHRA though, it’s a little more nuanced in that you can choose the “class of employees” that you offer it to, which is also dependent on the size of your organization. Like I said earlier, if you want to integrate a group health insurance plan, you have to do an ICHRA.
That’s about it. Those are the major differences. There are some other little nuances that you might want to consider, but the main takeaway here is that there are definitely options for providing health insurance or benefits or just reimbursement for healthcare [00:13:00] expenses to your employees. So, if you’re a growing practice owner or you’re just starting out and you’ve got a good handle on your numbers and you know that you would like to offer some kind of benefit for health insurance to your employees, these are great things to consider.
You don’t have to go the whole hog. Is that a thing people say? That’s my Southern upbringing coming out. You don’t have to go all-in or whole hog and offer a full-blown health benefits plan where you pay the entire premium. So just know there are options. And I think in this day and age when we in private practice are really having to compete with other mental health services, the BetterHelp, the Talkspaces, hospitals, other entities, any little advantage that we can gain or any perk that we can offer to [00:14:00] sweeten the deal is going to be invaluable in our hiring process.
So I hope this was helpful for you. I will include a couple of good resources and places where I got a lot of this information in the show notes so that you can read for yourself and decide what might fit you.
Thanks as always for listening. And like I said at the beginning, I am really doing my best to get people together into these accountability and coaching groups rather than individual consulting. I see so much power in the group. The way that people go through these cohorts together, it’s really pretty amazing that people support one another and grow together.
So, if you are looking for a group coaching experience, I’m the facilitator of all these groups and you can connect with other testing psychologists at [00:15:00] the same level of practice as yourself, then, reach out, let’s do a pre-group call and see which group might be a good fit for you. You can get more info at thetestingpsychologist.com/consulting.
Okay, that’s it for today. I will be back on Monday with more clinical content. Y’all take care.
The information contained in this podcast and on The Testing Psychologists website is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Nothing in this podcast or on the website is intended to be a substitute for professional, psychological, psychiatric, or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please note that no doctor-patient relationship is formed here. And similarly, no supervisory or consultative relationship is formed between the host or guests of this podcast and listeners of this podcast. If you need the qualified advice of any mental health practitioner or medical provider, please seek one in your area. Similarly, if you need supervision on clinical matters, please find a supervisor with expertise that fits your needs.