Gyms have come a long way, and new gym owners have a seemingly endless array of choices. Yet many new gym businesses fail because their owners try to be all things to all people.
Close Sharing Widget https: A close-up of a stethoscope lying on a wooden table. Small business gym business plan writers and solo entrepreneur Lauren Dunkelberger loves the flexibility of being her own boss, but it has its downsides when it comes to expenses.
Once her husband—who has been covered by Medicare for three years due to a kidney transplant—joins them, their coverage cost will soar even higher.
I always have to think about how many lessons I have to teach just to pay the insurance. But for the 80 percent of small businesses that don't have any employees, like Dunkelberger's, rising health care costs are also a significant issue—and the problem is getting worse.
According to a recent report from the JPMorgan Chase Institutethe median monthly premium for non-employer business owners has soared by The report also found that in most cases, owners are paying more for their own insurance than they would have paid for coverage as an employee.
And health care costs are rising at a significantly faster pace than their other operating expenses, leaving business owners with less overall.
Shrinking your health care costs isn't easy, but it is possible.
The following five strategies are all worth a try. Run the numbers—the right way Most solo entrepreneurs shop on the individual market for insurance coverage for themselves and their family.
The difference in premiums between plans can be significant, but keep in mind that co-pays, deductibles and prescription drugs can change the math entirely. If you take an expensive prescription regularly, for example, you may find that one plan offers a significant cost savings on that drug over another one.
And if you're in good health, you aren't managing a chronic condition and people in your family tend to stay pretty healthy, a low-premium, high-deductible plan could save you money. Take your health costs from the past year and run them through all of your insurance options—you may find that the plan with the higher deductible would have cost you less.
Just make sure that you can shoulder the cost of the full deductible, in case something happens that requires you to use your insurance more than usual.
Call a health insurance broker Struggling to make sense of the options? Brokers are typically paid by insurance companies, and can help you compare plans and find the one that best meets your needs—and budget. They're also familiar with all the options on the market, so they may have a suggestion for you that you hadn't considered.
Look into professional groups If you're a member of a professional association or trade group, you may be able to purchase insurance at more of a group rate. For instance, the Freelancers Union offers health insurance to members, as does the Writers Guild of America. College alumni associations sometimes offer it, as do local chambers of commerce, and the National Association for the Self Employed.
Think about the groups to which you belong—or to which you could belong—and get some quotes. Be a savvy shopper If you have a large deductible or you pay a percentage of costs, the cost of services matters—and it's not set in stone.
If you don't need a particular procedure done immediately, it's worth your time to call a few providers for quotes—and even try to negotiate a discount. When it comes to prescription drugs, you may be able to save significantly by having something filled at a club store or discount store pharmacy.
Those who have a chronic condition or take a regular and pricey medication may be able to find a discount card or score savings from the manufacturer directly.
Use your health savings account HSA If you're on a high-deductible health plan and you have a health savings account, make sure you're contributing to it.
Plus, since the money rolls over each year, you can build a nest egg that you can use should you have to spend up to your deductible—or it will continue to grow until you need it.Michelle Dale is the founder of Virtual Miss Friday, an online business consultancy with built-in virtual assistant services, and the creator of 1nSourcing, which serves 6- and 7-figure business caninariojana.com has grown a successful location independent business, traveling and living abroad, meeting her husband and raising 3 children.
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