Q&A: Controlling your employees' benefit costs

How do I reduce the amount I pay for my employees' health insurance?

Q: I'm a solo general practitioner with four employees. Health insurance premiums for my staff are rising steadily. I've shopped for less- expensive plans but haven't found anything suitable. Since three staffers are already covered by their spouses' plans, I've considered dropping the benefit altogether. But I don't want to leave the fourth employee in a lurch. How can I reduce my costs?

A: You could drop coverage for the three employees covered by their spouses' plans and cover just the fourth employee. If you do, though, rewrite your office policy manual to exclude all employees covered by another plan from group health coverage. While you're at it, add a statement reserving the right to change the policy at any time.

Here are some other options:

Send your practice management questions to mepractice@advanstar.com (please include your regular postal address). Answers to our readers' questions were provided by Virginia Martin, vice president of operations for Reed Medical Systems in Monroe, Michigan, and Judy Bee of Practice Performance Group in La Jolla, California.