Health and dental insurance for small business owners

The Dental Download

Find a Small Biz Plan that Makes Your Employees Smile

Small Biz Basics

Make 5 Smart Moves for a Dental Plan that Delivers

For small businesses, a great dental insurance plan makes your business more appealing to new hires—and keeps your employees smiling. In fact, 86% of small business employees say dental benefits are a must-have.1

But not all dental plans are created equal. You want a plan that provides your employees with high-quality, cost-effective coverage, easy access to updated treatments, reliable expertise and more. 

Fortunately, finding the right one doesn’t require a degree in dentistry. Follow these five tips to get the right dental insurance plan for your small business.

1. Take a long view on short-term discounts. 

Some medical plan providers will offer an initial discount to wrap your dental benefits into your medical plan. While this may seem like a good idea, it has its drawbacks. You wouldn’t ask your CPA to manage your outsourced IT because that’s not her area of specialty. So why entrust your dental plan to a medical plan carrier? Also changes to your medical plan could impact your dental benefits—causing added stress and unnecessary work. 

The small biz smart move: Find a standalone, best-in-class dental plan for your small business. You’ll have a safeguard against unnecessary disruption, and your employees get the advantage of having comprehensive benefits from a trusted dental expert.

2. Find a plan that works for today – and tomorrow.

No one wants a plan that only covers silver fillings, when white ones are the new norm. Dental treatments evolve, and your benefits should cover what dentists currently recommend. A plan that covers outdated treatments or overcomplicates coverage doesn’t do your employees much good. 

The small biz smart move: Dig into your plan details, and ask questions when you don’t understand the benefits. Your broker can help. For instance, determine whether your plan covers composite “white” fillings, sealants for teens, and offers comprehensive service for implants and periodontal disease.

3. Consider the power behind the plan.

The network is the powerhouse of a dental plan. However, while the number of dentists in the network is something to consider, there are other factors that can make—or break—your plan. The best plans help your employees maximize their dental dollars. That means balancing access to great dentists with cost protections that make the plans worth the money.

The small biz smart move: Explore who is in your plan’s network, and how your plan evaluates dentists that are included. In addition, ask your broker about how your plan handles discounts for services that aren’t covered and visits to out-of-network providers.  

4. Make sure your plan goes the extra mile.

Good oral health is an important part of your employees’ overall health and wellbeing. That’s why great dental plans go beyond providing benefits and processing claims. They also offer access to expert guidance and helpful extras so that your employees can make good decisions about their dental care. 

The small biz smart move: Ask whether your dental plan offers additional features, such as apps for managing claims, cost calculators, games that teach kids healthy habits, and more.

5. Remember what really matters …   

Great service and a solid track record of proven experience will get a smile every time. Best-in-class dental plans should provide both, making it easy for you and your employees to get the information, resources, and service they need online and in real life.

The small biz smart move: The plan is just part of the relationship. Look for a provider who has a commitment to service excellence and proven resultss

Health and dental insurance for small business owners

How does the Affordable Care Act Affect Small Businesses

If you own a small business with 50 or 50 employees, you can most likely use the Obamacare Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace to offer health insurance to your employees.

But prepare to do some math.

First, determine your SHOP eligibility. As noted above you must have 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees (FTEs). And, to use the Federal marketplace ( you have to do business in the United States.

You must have an office or employee work site within the state whose SHOP Marketplace you want to use. You’ll need to find your state’s Marketplace. Find it here.

Affordable Care Act SHOP Employee Head Count

Now, we’re ready to do some math.

Remember those 50 or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employees? You may have less (or more!) than you thought:

  • Full-time employees are those who worked on average 30 hours or more a week for more than 120 days in a year – or the number of employees you expect to work these hours.
  • Part-time employees are those who worked on average less than 30 hours per week, but more than 120 days per year.

You can use the FTE Calculator to see how many employees SHOP thinks you have. counts FTEs.

You must offer coverage to all your full-time employees. You don’t have to offer coverage to part-time employees, but you can if you want to.

Once you’ve determined how many employees you officially have, you need to do a little more math.

In most states, at least 70% of the employees you offer insurance to must either enroll in your plan or have coverage from another source. Use the SHOP Minimum Participation Rate Calculator to see how many of your employees must accept your offer.

Don’t despair if you don’t meet your minimum participation requirement. You can enroll in SHOP coverage between November 15 and December 15 any year. Those businesses that do meet the requirement can enroll at any time.

Non-profit organizations can also use the SHOP Marketplace if they meet all the requirements.

Do I Qualify For The Tax Credit?

SHOP is also the place to apply for the small business health care tax credit which may cover up to 50% of premium costs. The credit can sometimes be applied retroactively, back to 2010 when the ACA was enacted.
You may qualify for employer health care tax credits if:

  • You have fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees
  • Those employees earn an average of about $50,000 a year or less.
  • You pay at least 50% of your full-time employees' premium costs
  • You offer coverage to your full-time employees through the SHOP Marketplace. (You don’t have to offer it to dependents or employees working fewer than 30 hours per week to qualify for the tax credit.)

Dental Coverage Through SHOP

Most medical plans in SHOP – as well as those in the individual Marketplace - do not include dental benefits. To offer these important health services to employees, small business owners will typically need to purchase an additional standalone plan.
For many companies, group dental insurance is often too expensive to offer.  Small businesses struggled just to afford basic health care policies. On average, small businesses will pay about 18% more than a larger business for the same health coverage, according to the Council of Economic Advisers.

Group Dental Plans: The Affordable Alternative to Group Dental Insurance

Dental savings plans for groups offer an affordable alternative to group dental insurance. Similar to a membership buyers’ club, dental saving plan members pay a low annual fee to gain access to a network of participating dentists.

The dentists who participate in a particular plan have agreed to accept a reduced fee – 10%- 60% less than the customary cost - from plan members. Services include annual cleanings, x-rays, crowns, root canals, and bridges. Some plans even include cosmetic and orthodontic procedures, which are not typically covered by insurance. offers innovative turnkey solutions that allows small businesses to offer their employees excellent dental care options. And group dental plans are exceptionally easy to manage; there are no claims to file and no annual limits to track.

Get the details on :Dental Plans offerings for small business.

Health and dental insurance for small business owners

Do small businesses in Florida have to offer health insurance?

Once you have 50 employees, you are considered a large employer. This means that you may face penalties if you do not offer health insurance. All Florida business with fewer than 50 full-time employees are not required to provide health benefits to employees at this time.

What employers offer the best health insurance?

Top Companies Providing the Best Healthcare Benefits.
Boston Consulting Group. ... .
Ultimate Software. ... .
FactSet Research Systems. ... .
NuStar Energy. ... .
Kimley-Horn and Associates. ... .
Nugget Market. ... .
Perkins Coie. ... .