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Small business dilemma: health care access for employees

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Small business dilemma: health care access for employees

Nationally, the top four health issues for employees are all preventable or treatable, but it’s important for tavern owners and their employees to have access to primary care to stay healthy and on the job.

According to one human resource consultant company, the top four health issues for employees include

  • High blood pressure
  • Allergies
  • Cholesterol
  • Back pain

Any of those, can result in employees missing work.

So, what can owners of bars, taverns, and restaurants do to keep their staffs on the job?

The average Member of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association has a total of 16.8 employees. As far as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is concerned, they’re considered small employers—those with less than 50 full-time equivalent employees. As such, they do not need to provide health insurance coverage to employees.

It’s important to note that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, passed in 2017, did not repeal the ACA—only the individual mandate. Even though there are court challenges to the ACA, the employer mandate for large employers is still in place.

Regardless, we know many tavern owners want to offer health care access as a benefit, but struggle with the cost of health insurance. As a result, many do not offer it at all.

But there are options to consider, and they could involve direct primary care (DPC) plans.

To be clear, a DPC plan is not health insurance. Instead, DPC is a plan to manage primary care directly between a provider and patient. This plan includes a variety of care associated with family or primary care doctors.

Idea #1 to bring down business costs: a small business may consider offering employees a DPC plan in combination with a high-deductible insurance policy to cover emergencies. Compared to traditional health insurance, high-deductible insurance plans typically cost less.

Let’s do the math on this.  A DPC plan can be as low as $65 per month through partnerships such as Healthcare2U and Gettysburg Benefits Administrators Inc. That comes out to $780 per year for an individual. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, in 2017 the average annual premiums in the northeast for workers in a high deductible health plan with a savings option was $5,877 for single coverage. That combination comes out to $6,657 per year. If an employer in the northeast chose an HMO during that same year, the average cost for single coverage was $7,663.

Essentially, going with a combination of a DPC and high-deductible plan would have saved about $1,000.

Of course, that’s still a lot of money for a small business wanting to help their employees. So, what are other possibilities?

Idea # 2 to bring down business costs: some small business employers offer a combination of a DPC and a set amount of money to help the employee purchase insurance in the marketplace… or maybe just a DPC.

Melissa Lemaster of Gettysburg Benefits Administrators, Inc., says her company understands the struggles of small businesses and often sits down with them to discuss a wide arrange of options. She adds that a DPC is a creative option to consider.

“Healthcare generally begins with primary care,” she says. “In addition to potential cost savings it could create, a DPC plan makes sense.”


Disclosure: Healthcare2U / Gettysburg Benefits Administrators, Inc. is a preferred vendor of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association. To learn more about DPC plans, contact Melissa Lemaster at or call her at 800-497-4474, ext. 5030 or 717-334-3191.

This article was republished from the December 2019 edition of Pennsylvania Observer, the official monthly magazine of the Pennsylvania Licensed Beverage and Tavern Association.


Preferred Vendor: Gettysburg Benefits Administration Inc

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