One of the biggest hurdles facing the average small business owner is finding reasonably priced insurance. It's enough of a challenge that many small businesses in Florida and other states simply forego supplying health policies to their employees. So many people are desperate for a job right now that they'll settle for one without health and dental benefits. But, it really doesn't have to be the case. If you're a small business owner and you're willing to do a little research, it is possible to find Florida group health insurance at reasonable rates, even if you only employ a handful of people. Don't get panicked, you have options and resources to help you along the way.

As a small business owner, you can apply directly to the major insurance carriers like Blue Cross/Blue Shield, or through an agent. Since small group rates are regulated, the premiums will be the same whether you do it yourself or work with an agent. You might as well use an agent since it will save you a lot of time and paperwork. Besides, they'll likely be the most informed of new policies, changes, and price decreases. In the state of Florida, the companies that are recommended the most often are United Healthcare, Aetna, Human, Vista Healthplans, and Neighborhood Health Partnership. Choosing a major carrier will likely be more beneficial as they often offer the most comprehensive coverage and may be able to craft a plan to your small company's specific needs. Also, they will likely have relationships with more doctors and hospitals than smaller institutions. The last thing your staff needs is to finally be on vacation, get hurt, and not be able to find a doctor in their network.

Before you begin contacting agents or carriers, there are a few things you need to know for a small group of people. Your company must be in business for anywhere from 6 to 24 months (this depends on which institution you go with). Your company must have at least 2 full-time employees. Depending upon which carrier you eventually decide on, 50 to 75% of your employees who are eligible for coverage must enroll in the plan. When you send in the enrollment forms filled out by your employees, don't forget to submit your most recent UCT-6 form and copies of your company's articles of incorporation.

Finally, before you begin offering health care coverage to your staff, you need to conduct an employee census. This is one of the easiest steps to do, especially if your business only employs a few people. Once you've got that taken care of, you or your agent can contact the health institutions to see who can quote you the best rates. Don't be afraid to be very specific about what you want in terms of the coverage you need, the type of plan you want, and anything else specific to your needs.

Offering group policies to your staff is an excellent benefit for them and a real incentive to retain top quality staff. Sometimes single coverage insurance is more expensive, but that isn't the case for staffers with Florida group health insurance because most employers pick up part of the tab for coverage. Usually, this is done to cut down on production for when employees are sick/injured, and also to help keep them working for you. The last thing you need, especially in this economy, is to have your most valued worker put in their letter of resignation just because they can get better benefits at another company. Don't panic; be prepared today for the uncertainties of tomorrow, your workers will thank you.