The Wall Street Journal:

Spiraling health-care costs have forced many small employers to reduce the benefits they offer — or, in some cases, eliminate coverage altogether.

But small companies do have options for keeping costs in check while still providing benefits and services to employees. Here are some to consider:

Discounts for Healthy Living:

Employees with healthy lifestyles typically end up incurring fewer health-related expenses. But small companies often don’t have the resources to bring in programs like cholesterol screenings and smoking-cessation classes.

So some insurers are offering to do the screening work as part of an insurance plan, with no additional cost.

Principal Financial Group Inc. is one of a handful of insurers offering a program designed for small companies that aren’t self-insured. The program can cost as much as 5% less than traditional insurance plans, though it varies by company demographics and location.

Workers submit to a voluntary screening, which can take place in their own workplace, and are given a point value based on factors like smoking status, body-mass index and blood pressure. People with higher scores are rewarded with lower insurance co-pays and deductibles.

Read more.

Photo by MSDesigns.

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