Finding a competitive, affordable employee benefits plan for your small business can be a complicated and overwhelming process – especially since bigger insurance carriers can’t always consider a group smaller than three.
“Self-employed business owners don’t get the quality or choices of Health & Dental plans through the traditional group benefits system,” says Arthur Poelen, president of Burnaby-based A.B. Poelen Financial. “Going to the big insurance carriers with a five-employee pool, a three-employee pool, or even as an individual looking for benefits, you have to know that the system is stacked against you.”
If you do get a plan set up, the ‘claims rating’ process that insurance carriers use to set renewal premiums can result in steep premium increases when even one employee claims more than the carrier budgeted.
For all these reasons, the system simply doesn’t work for the ‘little guys’, says Poelen. “It works for the insurance companies, and it works well for insurance brokers. The only party that it doesn’t work very well for is the client,” he adds.
However, it doesn’t have to be like this. The SOHO Group Health Benefits Plans offered at A.B. Poelen Financial could be a solution.
Through SOHO, which stands for “Small Office, Home Office”, plans are available at discount rates and are specifically built for smaller operators. You and your team participate in a national pool of thousands of other insured members, which more broadly spreads the risk of claims and stabilizes the premiums.
Flexible, customized, affordable benefits packages are available for everyone, even businesses with just one employee.
“When you participate in this national pool, the benefits are just as though you’re in a gigantic company—you simply participate in it,” says Poelen. “You have a dedicated, very experienced, very knowledgeable manager working for you to run the whole program. When they call those big carriers, they get attention. It keeps the profit margins thin and the quality high.
SOHO Group Benefits Plans are also tax effective. Premiums are tax deductible for sole proprietors, partnerships, and corporations, and the benefits you receive are tax-free. In fact, even Health & Dental expenses not covered by insurance can be tax deductible.
Many sole proprietors set up a benefits plan just for the tax benefits. Being able to pay their family Health & Dental expenses with pre-tax dollars can more than pay the premiums on a basic plan. The excellent year-round Travel Emergency Medical and unlimited prescription drug coverage is just a bonus.
SOHO’s competitive group benefits options also include dental coverage, pay-direct prescription drugs, travel medical and, above all, stable rates and flexible coverage that don’t require a minimum number of employees.
Dental coverage comprises regular check-ups, periodontic and endodontic work, as well as caps, crowns, and bridges. Extended health coverage includes medical equipment and supplies, hospital rooms, air and ground ambulances, eye exams, hearing aids, private-duty nursing and $500 annually per covered practitioner.
SOHO Plans can also include life insurance, accidental death and dismemberment, long-term disability, unlimited prescription drug coverage, and up to $5 million of 90-day travel benefits.
For more information on SOHO Benefit Plans, visit www.thesohoplan.ca.