Small businesses that employ seasonal or temporary workers face unique challenges. They must find (often quickly) reliable, affordable help for their busiest times of year, under circumstances such as a staffing shortage, or to assist with a special project requiring additional team members. Such employers have minimal time and resources to devote to managing employee benefits and usually do not have the budget to fund health insurance plans.
Offering short-term medical insurance, also known as STM or temporary health insurance, can accomplish many things for small businesses that rely on temporary workers. Here are five ways it benefits small business owners as well as their short-term employees:
Talent attraction, satisfaction
We all know good help is valuable, especially during the busy times when temporary and seasonal workers are hired. Health insurance benefits in the form of STM plans can help attract good short-term employees, retain them for the duration of their season or contract—and keep them coming back if and when they need them again.
Many studies show that access to health benefits plays an important role in employee satisfaction and retention, as well as attracting talent. The National Business Group’s Perceptions of Health Benefits in a Recovering Economy survey found that 87 percent of employees rated health benefits as very important when making a decision about accepting a new job or remaining with their current employer.
Peace of mind
Making health insurance available to temporary and seasonal workers also provides them—and their employers—with some assurance that their health care needs will be met should circumstances involving large medical bills occur. While STM does not cover preexisting medical conditions, it does offer health benefits and financial protection in the event of an accident or unexpected illness. The coverage period maximum on most short-term medical insurance plans ranges from $1 million to $2 million.
An STM plan is a good health insurance option for temporary employees, whether their employment period lasts for a month or six months. Temporary health insurance coverage periods last from 30 to 364 days depending on individual state duration limits. If the worker’s stay or contract gets extended, additional coverage is an option. He or she may simply apply for a new policy; again, this depends on the state.
STM plans do not require a minimum number of participants. Each application is handled on an individual basis.
Offering a temporary health insurance plan requires minimal administrative work. There is no need to hold an open enrollment period, complete large volumes of paperwork, or spend valuable time in correspondence.
The application and enrollment process is streamlined. Employees can apply and enroll within minutes online by providing basic information including their name, address and date of birth in addition to answering a few medical questions to determineeligibility. Some plans, such as those offered through healthedeals.com, don’t even require a Social Security number.
Because seasonal employees appear on the job quickly and only stick around temporarily, it’s important that health insurance coverage begins promptly. Typically, approval and policy documents for an STM plan will be emailed within 24 hours of submitting an application.
STM plans require no financial involvement from employers. Small business owners make the coverage available to temporary employees and provide them with the informational materials. Plans are customizable in terms of coverage-period length as well as deductible, coinsurance, out-of-pocket maximum and other options. This helps workers’ select coverage that accommodates their health care needs while keeping monthly premiums affordable.