Don’t Go Broke Offering Healthcare Benefits

This week’s guest blog is by dental consultant Dr. Mayer Levitt of Jodena Consulting. A former dentist himself, Mayer has helped tons of dental practices to achieve better profits, retention, and publicity since 1989. You can learn more ways to improve your practice by subscribing to Mayer’s blog.

In the current environment of rising health care costs-with no end in sight-the staff benefit most treasured and most desired is a contribution by the practice to pay for health care. I would also offer an opinion that failure to offer healthcare as a benefit will limit your choices of attracting quality staff. Here are my thoughts and recommendations.

The days of you paying 100% for single person health coverage are gone. The costs are just too prohibitive and it is impossible to anticipate or budget for the inevitable annual increases. And we all know that it is very difficult to take away a benefit that staff are accustomed to. But all employees-whether in big companies or small companies-are rapidly understanding that going forward, they are going to be required to share part of these increased costs of health insurance.

As a matter of courtesy, any change that you intend to make as an owner regarding what you will contribute towards healthcare should be made known almost a year in advance to allow employees time to adjust their own personal budgets.

My recommendation is to offer staff one of the following choices that you decide on. One option is to take what ever dollar cost you currently pay monthly, and announce that as of the beginning of the next calendar year, that dollar amount will represent your total contribution no matter what the actual premium is. A second option that is a bit more generous would be for you to take the dollar cost you currently pay-calculate what percentage that is of the total cost-and announce that going forward you will continue to pay that same percentage.

The point is that you have to take control of these spiraling costs and put some kind of cap on what you are willing to contribute. A new year is about to begin, so this is the perfect time to let your staff know of your intentions. You want to continue to be fair-but it is also time to stop the bleeding!

This is my last post in this current series on the topic of office policy manuals and staff benefits. It has been wonderful to hear from so many of you, and I hope you will feel free to continue to contact me with any questions or comments.