Who provides benefits for small businesses?
May 4, 2011 9:56 AM   Subscribe

Our small business (2 principals) is looking to grow by bringing on our first employees and we need to get a benefits package together and we're looking for advice. Looking for recommendations for benefits providers for small businesses. Would like a one stop shop (broker?) if that makes sense. But any advice on hiring your first salaried employee appreciated.

So we're a small interactive agency looking to bring on at least one, if not more, full time designer and/or technical resource. These would be salaried positions and we'd need to provide a competitive benefits package. It seems like there should be some one stop shops for this sort of thing but Googling it seems to get some relatively random types. Right now we're bicoastal (SF/NYC) so if its best to go local we could do either of those metropolitan areas.
posted by bitdamaged to Work & Money (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You're looking for what's known as a "third party administrator." Though typically associated with claims handling, a full-service TPA will also be able to help you put your package together and handle the logistics of enrolling employees. Google around a bit for "employee benefits administrator" and see what you can come up with.

Really though, it looks like you're really wanting to just outsource your HR department. There are a lot of staffing agencies that can help you with this. Staffing agencies don't just provide temps: they can also provide back-office services for employers that do their own hiring but don't want to deal with the paperwork. That'd be another place to start.
posted by valkyryn at 10:02 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

I believe all of the major insurance companies (Aetna, Blue Cross, etc) have small business divisions. You'll probably need to go with one of the big guys to get adequate coverage for doctors on both coasts. Any local insurance agent that works with small businesses is probably also an agent for at least one of the major players.
posted by COD at 10:31 AM on May 4, 2011

I've worked at several very small companies and in each case they had gotten their health insurance through an outside group of some sort - for example, the Michigan Food and Beverage Association offers Blue Cross to its members, so two of the small companies I worked for (which were not in any way associated with foods or beverages) purchased a MFBA membership ($100 per year) and were then able to get on that group plan. There are probably similar options available in your area; you can most likely find them via your local Small Business Association, Chamber of Commerce, or other networking-type groups.
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:39 AM on May 4, 2011

Well there are two ways to go through this:

1. a TPA/benefits broker. They will be able to get you all the benefits you need, not just health insurance but also Life, AD&D, Disability, etc. They can usually help you set up a retirement plan if you need it.

2. A PEO (Professional Employer Organization). This is basically an entire outsourcing of your HR functions. They group lots of small groups together to get larger group coverage so you generally have access to much better plans. One of the big ones is Administaff, I've never used them, I just know they exist.
posted by magnetsphere at 4:17 PM on May 4, 2011

The small SF-based interactive company I used to work for used Administaff (it seems as if they're now known as Insperity), and, I believe, were happy with their services. My intel is a year or two old, but if you're interested memail me and I'll check with my pals (principal, Exec Producer).
posted by hapax_legomenon at 9:51 PM on May 4, 2011

Administaff is an employee leasing organization. For a monthly fee per employee, you are all Administaff employees with access to all the big company benefits. They take over payroll, benefits admin and all that, leaving you free to run the company. You are still in control of your company, but I believe technically you are an Administaff employee. I worked for a small org than went that route a while back. I believe the minimum was 5 employees, which we got around by putting a couple of wives on the employee roster. It wasn't a bad deal from my standpoint as an employee. There were really only 3 of us in the company, yet I had health and dental that was based on being part of a huge corporation.
posted by COD at 6:54 AM on May 5, 2011

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