Ideas on how you can afford health benefits for your employees

Group Health Insurance for your Small Business is within Reach

You see them everywhere: Help Wanted signs on store front widows, “Now Hiring” posts on business social media pages, “Join Our Team” ads in the Classifieds. Small businesses across the country (and here in New Hampshire) are finding themselves short-staffed and frustrated.

NH SBDC recently completed the third phase of our business resiliency survey and we found that while businesses’ financial outlook has improved, recruiting and retaining workforce remains a significant concern.

Phase 3 is the conclusion of the three-part Business Resiliency Survey, conducted together with the UNH Survey Center from September 15 – October 11, 2021. Phase 3 received 1,057 responses from businesses in 165 cities and towns.

Nearly half of respondents say they currently have the same number of employees as they did in February 2020, while three in eight report having fewer employees. Businesses are managing staffing recruitment and retention challenges by reducing open hours, allowing remote work, increasing efficiency or automation, or by offering increased compensation and one-time bonuses.

While these options are helpful, we submit another idea; one that is long-term, yields good results and offers great value to the employer as well as the employees: Employer Sponsored Health Insurance.

Now, don’t stop reading, uttering “Are they crazy?  I’m a small business. I can’t afford that.” The thing is…it is possible! For small businesses (1-50 employees), offering health insurance is well within reach and makes sense. 

Man in workshop with employee


Attract New Talent

Research shows that potential candidates are more attracted to positions in which the job description mentions health benefits. A recent article in Business NH Magazine, highlights a study conducted by Appcast in Lebanon where in their report titled, “Job Ad Content: How Benefits Impact Candidate Attention,” they found…

  • Including benefits in general leads to a 22% increase in job applications.
  • Health care benefits in job descriptions (including health insurance, dental insurance, vision insurance, and mental health benefits) were generally associated with higher apply rates.

Did you know that nearly half of job ads currently make no mention of benefits in their job descriptions? What an opportunity for you to stand out from the pack… Highlight the benefits you offer!

people around table

Retain Existing Talent

It costs both a lot of time and money to onboard new team members, so don’t forget to focus on keeping the good talent you already have. Offering health coverage can…

  • Increase team member loyalty to keep your top employees for the long term.
  • Lead to healthier and more productive employees.
  • Strengthen company culture.

Save Money

  • Lower Premiums - Generally speaking, group health insurance plans cost less per person than an individual plan.  So, enrolling in a group health insurance plan could be more affordable for you as the business owner, as well as your employees and their families. 
  • Tax Incentives – A group health plan can mean a few tax advantages for your business.

Family hands holding coins


  • Improved job satisfaction.
  • More affordable healthcare coverage for themselves and their families.
  • The pre-tax benefit of health insurance costs leads to more after-tax money in their pocket.


  1. SHOP Insurance – Offered through, the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) was created especially for small business employers (1-50 employees) who want to provide health and/or dental insurance to their employees. It’s affordable, it’s flexible, and it’s convenient. For details, or to see if you qualify, visit the SHOP Insurance page.

  1. QSEHRA – If you don’t want to offer group health coverage, you can still help employees pay for their health care costs through a Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangement (QSEHRA). It’s tax-free and gives you big employer style health plans on a small employer budget. Visit the QSEHRA page at for details and options.

  1. Private Group Insurance – The same insurance companies that offer individual or family plans usually offer group coverage as well.


 Ready to explore healthcare coverage for your small business? There are several ways to get started.

  1. Visit the links above.
  2. Contact Health Market Connect, a federally funded program to provide no-cost, unbiased Marketplace health insurance assistance to New Hampshire residents.
  3. Contact your favorite broker. New Hampshire has several health insurance brokers across the state who are available to help you navigate the options and select what might be best for your business.


If you’re still unsure where to begin, contact an SBDC Business Advisor who can help point you in the right direction based on where you are today.