Month: September 2018

Why Your Small Business Should Still Offer Employee Health Benefits

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Even Small Businesses Need Employee Health Benefits

Health insurance can be one of the most expensive parts of running a business. When you’re a small business and have to operate on a tight ship, offering employee health benefits can seem like a heavy burden, leaving you questioning whether such an investment is the best use of your funds. While providing health benefits isn’t mandatory until your business has at least fifty employees on payroll, businesses of any size need employee health benefits. Here’s why.

Employee health benefits can help you attract the right talent. Those seeking a business where they can grow their career want to know they’ll be supported with the right benefits. Those with in-demand skills typically know their worth and are looking for employment opportunities that can offer the full package. Because hiring the right people early on sets the tone for your small business’s culture for years to come, impacting the quality of future hires down the road, it could be worth every penny to attract ace players with appealing benefits today.

Employee health benefits can help decrease turnover. The employees you currently have may be more likely to stay if they know they have health coverage. Health benefits are something that most employees don’t just want from an employer, but expect. Eighty-three percent of employees said health insurance is very or extremely important in deciding whether to stay in or change jobs. Given that turnover can be extremely costly for employees, consider doing all you can to keep your current employees hired and happy.

Healthy employees are productive employees. One of the most fundamental reasons to offer your team members health benefits? It keeps them healthier! People are more likely to go to the doctor when they have insurance to help cover the cost. This includes doctor’s visits for both preventative and remedial care. The more your employees can mitigate sickness or the faster they can recover, the more time they have to act as contributing members of the team.

Coverage Options: How to Pay for It?

To keep expenses in check, you can offer health benefits just to employees, rather than extend coverage to their families. As a small business, offering full family coverage may be something that doesn’t fit within your budget any way you slice it. That’s okay. Offering individual health benefits still shows you’re invested in your employees.

You also don’t have to cover all the expense of employee health benefits yourself as the business. There are a number of businesses that only partially cover benefits, and pass along the rest of the cost to the employee. Or, some businesses choose to pass along the full cost of health benefits to the employee and simply act as the facilitator.

If your small business doesn’t currently offer employee health benefits, now is a great time to consider your options as you plan for your next fiscal year. Most companies extend health benefit enrollment to their employees near the end of the calendar year.

For guidance on employee health benefits for your small business, reach out to the insurance experts at Schechner Lifson Corporation today!

Should You Look into Commercial Auto Coverage?

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Find Out Why Commercial Auto Coverage is a Must

Commercial auto coverage is intended for those who use their vehicles for business. If you have a business – no matter how small – and use a vehicle for work-related driving, it’s a good idea to get commercial auto coverage.

Commercial auto coverage covers the additional liabilities that come with driving for business. For example, coverage extends to employees that drive the vehicle, the work equipment and supplies carried within or by the vehicle, and any passengers in the vehicle. Your personal auto coverage wouldn’t cover these liabilities to the same extent. Commercial auto coverage can also extend to protect your business assets in the event of a lawsuit resulting from a car accident.

If you operate a business that depends on large vehicles like semi-trucks, cement trucks, construction vehicles, or tow trucks, commercial auto coverage is required by law. However, this type of auto coverage can also be applied to regular pick-up trucks or a small sedan. If you use your vehicle for business – no matter what it looks like – it can qualify for commercial coverage.

The benefits of commercial auto coverage far outweigh the risk of operating your business without it. You protect yourself from lawsuits, you protect your employees, you protect your assets in transit, and you avoid the full burden of expensive collisions.

How to Get Commercial Auto Coverage

Work with your independent insurance agent to find the best commercial auto coverage plan for your business. You may also want to consider insurance add-ons, like emergency roadside assistance so that you or your employees will never be stranded in or in a bind. Personal effects coverage will also cover any employee belongings that are stolen from your company vehicles.

Know that commercial auto coverage will be more expensive than personal auto coverage, but that’s only because it covers more liabilities. The cost of your business’s plan will be impacted by the number of vehicles, the size of your vehicles, the type of business you own, and the size of your business. The driving records of those who will be driving your company vehicles will also impact final insurance cost, so you may want to consider verifying driving records as part of your hiring process.

Don’t let costs discourage you from acquiring this essential type of insurance coverage for your business. Consider the good news: this type of auto coverage is tax deductible!

Leasing a business vehicle? In this case, you may also need to acquire comprehensive and collision coverage. This pays for damage to your vehicle should you get into an accident that you caused yourself, or if your vehicle is damaged by a type of non-collision event.

For custom consultation regarding whether your business warrants commercial auto coverage – or to get started exploring your coverage options – reach out to the insurance experts at Schechner Lifson Corporation today!

In-Network vs. Out-of-Network Doctors

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How Will In-Network vs. Out-of-Network Affect Me?

One of the first questions you may have when introduced to health insurance policies is the difference between a policy’s in-network vs. out-of-network coverage. Most health insurance policies will present different costs for each type of coverage. But what do these terms mean, and how do they affect your pocketbook?

What is an In-Network Doctor?

In-network doctors are those with whom your insurance company has agreed to partner. The doctor accepts your insurance, and your insurance company acknowledges your doctor as a contracted healthcare provider. For that reason, these two parties have agreed to set costs for the doctor’s healthcare services. The insurance company and the doctor both know ahead of time what a service will cost. As a result of this certainty, the insurance company can take on a larger portion of the expense and the savings are passed along to you, the individual policyholder.

It’s wisest to stay in-network anytime you need to visit a doctor or a specialist. You can verify if a doctor is in-network by going to your insurance carrier’s website and searching the doctor by name. If their name is listed on the site as an in-network doctor, you know you’re good to go. You can also call the doctor’s office directly to ask if the doctor is in your carrier’s network.

However (and this is important): just because a doctor or specialist accepts your insurance, it doesn’t mean they are in-network. An out-of-network doctor can still accept your insurance, but they won’t be able to pass along the discount. Always clarify!

What is an Out-of-Network Doctor?

Out-of-network doctors don’t have a partnership with your insurance company. They do not have a standing contract with your insurance provider to negotiate standard costs for services. For this reason, visiting an out-of-network doctor can be more expensive, because the insurance company hasn’t approved the doctor’s cost for service. In this case, the difference between what the doctor charges and what the insurance company will cover gets passed on to you, the patient. This is what’s known as “balance billing”.

How to Stay Savvy

Before you schedule any appointments or accept any treatment, always do your homework. The overwhelming majority of the time, you will save money by being treated by someone in-network, so again, determine beforehand. If you’re being treated in a hospital for more involved care, don’t be afraid to ask each time you see a new doctor whether they’re in your network. Doctors have been known to involve out-of-network colleagues in a patient’s care without discussing the fact that they are out-of-network, resulting in the patient taking on the costly expense of that additional doctor’s balance billing.

Keep in mind that the principles for choosing in-network vs. out-of-network doctors can also apply to dental care and vision care.

When it comes to your health insurance coverage, never be afraid to ask questions. The question you almost didn’t ask could be the reason you save hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars! Have additional questions? Reach out to the insurance experts at Schechner Lifson Corporation today.

Have You Considered Collectibles and Valuables Insurance?

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Cover Your Personal Items with Valuables Insurance

Auto insurance: check. Life insurance: check. Health insurance: check. Homeowner’s insurance: check. With each of these in tow, you and your possessions are pretty well-covered, right?

Maybe. You could be leaving some of your most valuable assets unprotected. That’s because your homeowner’s insurance doesn’t guarantee coverage for everything in your home. Rather, it provides coverage for different items in the home up to a certain amount (known as category sublimits). So, if you have items in your home that exceed the value of their category sublimit, you’ll have to pay out of pocket should they be damaged, lost, destroyed, or stolen.

That’s why there’s valuables insurance. This type of coverage extends beyond your basic homeowner’s insurance. It’s specifically designed to cover personal items that are worth more than what the category sublimits of your homeowner’s insurance cover. We never know when a possession might be compromised, and though an insurance policy won’t be able to replace the sentimental value of cherished possessions, it can reimburse their monetary value – which is better than being left with nothing at all.

How Does Valuables Insurance Work?

Valuables insurance can be purchased as a separate addition to your homeowner’s insurance. You can do this at the time you acquire your homeowner’s insurance, or any time after. It’s important to be familiar with your standard homeowner’s insurance policy limits, so you know how much valuables coverage you need.

Without valuables insurance, should something happen to your possessions, you’d have to provide proof of ownership to your insurance company. In the case of a flood or fire, providing proof after the fact can be challenging. And who has time for that kind of dispute after major home damage?

There are two primary ways to go about identifying quantity of coverage. You can list out each valuable individually (itemizing) and put separate coverage on each item. Or, you can buy broader coverage for different categories of valuables. For items that are particularly valuable, it probably makes the most sense to itemize. You may find it helpful to work with an insurance agent who can determine the right coverage amounts for your items.

Valuables insurance also includes lost items. Let’s say a jewel fell out of your necklace, or you misplaced your collector’s edition watch. Your valuables insurance will cover the cost of these items. And, if the item appreciated in value since the time of purchase, many policies will even cover up to 50% beyond what you originally paid for the item.

If you have items in the home greater than $1,000 each in value, you should weigh the benefits of valuables insurance. However, if you have particularly valuable luxury items, consider this type of insurance a must-have. In this case, you may also want to seek out a premier insurance policy with agents who can accurately assess the value of your high-end items.

Interested in learning more about valuables insurance? Schechner Lifson Corporation’s team of insurance experts have more than one hundred years of experience in supporting homeowners like you! Call us today at 908-598-7800 or visit us online.