Employee Group Benefit Basics

What are employee group benefits?

Between the years 1930 to 1950, in response to Labor Unions’ demands for better wages and working conditions, U.S. companies and the unions negotiated the employee benefits which are commonly found today in ‘both union and non-union companies.’ Much like today, employers used wages to compete for the best talent and began using employee compensation packages or ‘fringe benefits’ as a means to leverage themselves above the competition. (Source)

In today’s workplace, a top priority for both employer and employee is medical insurance which is “followed by a retirement plan, disability insurance, vision, dental and life insurance.” There are also benefits required by federal and state law which mandate employers must provide them to their employees (in Washington State that includes some health-care benefits). Other benefits are simply options such as some of the fore mentioned insurance plans and things like paid time off for vacations etc. However, it’s within this area of providing benefits and meeting the mandated benefit requirements small midsize companies get into trouble.

Since health insurance is key to securing top talent and ensuring employee satisfaction, it is a critical employee benefit. There are many healthcare plan options. For example, there are traditional fee for service plans, managed care (Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) and the Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) or health savings accounts to name a few.

Don’t procrastinate choosing a group benefit plan.

Employers should not wait until annual enrollment to choose a plan. Health insurance can either make or break a small midsize business. It represents a huge employee expense second only to payroll and should be planned for accordingly.

Additionally small-business owners should understand The Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act (COBRA) as well as retirement plans which some business owners mistakenly think they cannot afford to offer their employees nor themselves. To name a few, savings incentive match plans for employees (SIMPLE), individual retirement accounts (IRA) and simplified employee pension (SEP) plans allow to plan and save for retirement.

Group Benefits Northwest is a trusted insurance brokerage company serving small and midsize businesses throughout Seattle and the North Puget Sound, as it’s done for the last 35 years.

By representing top companies in the insurance field, Group Benefits Northwest is able to work with these major organizations to help businesses provide the best programs for their employees. Founder, Steve Brown, is joined by two of his children, Allison Brown and Courtney Flores providing group benefits such as medical, dental, vision, disability income, life insurance and executive benefit plans. (Meet the team) (Plans and Providers)

Together they have developed working relationships with key service providers to further support their clients’ business needs. These include accounting, legal, payroll as well as all the benefit compliance services i.e. COBRA , HSA, HRA, FSA including Section 125/cafeteria plans.

Would you like to review your current benefits plan? Please call us at (360) 419-9999 for a free business review.

Disclaimer: The above content is intended only as general information. Always consult the advice of the appropriate professional such as a benefits broker, certified professional accountant or financial consultant before making any employee benefit decisions.

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