Health Insurance for Remote Workers: What To Consider & How To Find the Right Fit for Your Needs

health insurance for remote employees

In this post-pandemic era, 58% of Americans have the opportunity to work from home at least one day each week.
Yet one of the biggest obstacles to having a remote team is offering healthcare.
So how can companies continue to attract and keep top-tier talent in the age of “The Great Resignation”?
At first glance, the health insurance market may seem too antiquated to meet the needs of our modern digital workspace, but it requires a closer look.

This guide will dive deeper into health insurance for remote workers, including:

  • How health insurance for remote employees works
  • How to find the right fit for your coverage needs
  • Remote employee health insurance options;
  • And more

Table of Contents

More and More Companies Are Going Remote — What You Need To Know About Employee Benefits When Your Employees Work From Home

A recent survey reported that by 2025 the number of remote workers is expected to be nearly double what it was before COVID-19. That means 36.2 million Americans could be remote, an increase of 16.8 million people from pre-pandemic rates.
Companies with a remote workforce report …

  • Higher overall productivity
  • A reduction of non-essential meetings; and
  • Fewer distractions at the office

… while remote employees boast:

  • Higher overall productivity
  • A reduction of non-essential meetings; and
  • Fewer distractions at the office

The success that many companies have seen from remote work has impacted team structure as 52% of companies today hire remote freelancers.
Employers are also expanding into the acceptance of hybrid schedules, which require only a portion of the week on-site and part at home.
According to Gallup, Approximately 56% of full-time employees in the United States say their job can be done working from home and five in 10 are currently working hybrid schedules.
These changes can leave many employers questioning if and how they can continue to provide competitive health benefits to remote employers.

How Does Health Insurance Work for Remote Workers?

If you’re a remote worker, you may feel like your employee status lies in limbo between regular employee and freelancer.
But that doesn’t mean you have to be left out in the cold when it comes to health insurance benefits.
Talk with your human resources representative. Depending on your location and the location of the workforce, the company may be able to add you to the existing company group plan.
You can also work with a local insurance broker to buy insurance for remote workers on the marketplace and negotiate reimbursement options with your employer.

How Do I Provide Health Insurance Benefits for Remote Employees?

Providing health coverage is one of the most competitive benefits an employer can offer, yet only half of small businesses offer health insurance.
Depending on your company …

  • Size
  • Staff management personnel; and
  • Existing benefits

… you can propose remote employee health insurance in a few different ways.
Later in this article, we will dive into the details of offering …

  • Traditional health insurance
  • Health reimbursement arrangements (HRA); and
  • Travel insurance

… as options for health insurance for remote workers.

Our Company Has Employees in Different States — How Does This Affect the Health Insurance We Offer Remote Workers?

With the recent influx of remote work combined with state guidelines for insurance coverage, offering affordable and equitable health insurance for remote employees may seem daunting, especially to a small business.
If you’re a small business that employs remote workers in multiple states, you have the option of enrolling in a Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) health insurance plan in the state where your business is primarily located.
Through SHOP, you can provide coverage for your employees by:

  1. Choosing a single health plan with a multi-state or national provider network for all employees; or
  2. Offering different SHOP plans in each state where your employees work. You must ensure your business meets the requirements to participate in each state’s SHOP

You can also propose reimbursements to your out-of-state employees for a Multi-state Affordable Care Act Plan in which a carrier offers the same plan in more than one state.
A multi-state plan does not necessarily mean that coverage is available across multiple states, but only that insurance companies can now offer the same plan in more than one state.

3 Remote Employee Health Insurance Options

#1: Traditional Health Insurance Plans

Traditional health insurance plans may work best for companies who have:

  • Existing benefits with an insurance provider for its traditional employees
  • A human resources department that can handle employee benefits directly; and
  • A remote workforce that is based within one country or region where the provider operates

If your remote employees are scattered across the globe, some traditional health insurance providers may also offer international health insurance plans.
International health insurance can provide:

  • Emergency medical treatment
  • Pre-existing conditions
  • Routine procedures; and
  • More

Some international health insurance plans even allow participants to choose their medical providers.
While the benefits of international health insurance are comprehensive, it can also be expensive for employers.

#2: Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA)

Health reimbursement arrangements (HRA) are employer-funded, account-based health plans where employees are reimbursed for qualifying medical expenses.
Employers can set a fixed dollar amount per year for reimbursement and unused amounts may be rolled over to subsequent years.
HRA’s can be offered to employees based on:

  • Role
  • Job location
  • Hours worked; or
  • Participation in the company’s current group health insurance policy

For some types of HRA’s, remote employees must purchase a health plan privately and may even use the money to pay the monthly premiums.
Benefits to HRA’s include:

  • Flexibility for employers to provide different benefit allowances based on employee classifications to promote equal levels of insurance
  • Flexibility for employees to choose a health insurance plan that meets their needs and lifestyle; and
  • No minimum contribution requirements

HRA’s are also tax-free as long as the employee has minimal essential coverage (MEC).
HRA administrative software provides a formally defined contribution plan that is free to employees and tax-deductible to the company.
Though any sized company can offer HRA’s, they are designed for small to mid-sized employers with limited HR.

#3: Travel Insurance — Specifically for Workers Briefly Working Outside of the Network Area

If your company requires employees to travel frequently to work in a foreign office or to meet with clients, it may be necessary to purchase additional travel insurance for brief periods.
These policies cover emergency care only and may or may not include repatriation.
Routine medical care is not covered.
It’s important to read the terms and conditions of these policies closely. Some providers only cover employees working in a foreign office, not from a home abroad.

Understanding Health Insurance for Remote Workers — How Employers & Employees Can Maximize Their Benefits

Ask Employees What They Want

If you’ve got a team of employees who need health insurance, learn about their needs.
Although it may be easier with a smaller team, it’s equally important to get to know what all your employees desire in insurance benefits, regardless of company size.
Learn about what matters to them in their health insurance coverage and look for insurance companies that offer plans that work toward those needs.
Your staff will feel …

  • Heard
  • Valued; and
  • Supported

… which can nurture employee happiness and lead to hefty profits.

Research Coverage Options

A great place to start is with your current provider.
Research the extent of coverage they can offer and if any unconventional options can be created to meet your team’s unique needs.
Have a conversation with your current representative, they may be able to find potential solutions right under your nose.
Alternatively, you may also want to consider the outlook of your company.
Do you currently employ staff in one state, but plan to expand to other states or countries? 
If you plan to expand your company into new territory soon, it might be a good time to lay the groundwork with a new healthier insurance provider that can accommodate unconventional circumstances.

Talk With Professional Insurance Brokers

Professional insurance brokers are there to help companies and individuals navigate the health insurance market to find the most suitable coverage possible.
Identifying …

  • Demographic information
  • Employee needs; and
  • Budget

… as key qualifiers will help you gauge your company’s needs and enable the insurance consulting agent to find the best health coverage option available.
If you do have employees between several regions or countries, speaking with local brokers can also help you better understand what constitutes comprehensive coverage in different markets.
But first, make sure you’ve conducted a little research of your own to understand the nuances and enable you to ask the right questions to address your company’s needs.
Let the experienced health insurance experts at Nevada Benefits find the right health insurance option for you or your remote employees.
Contact us today to request a quote. 

Communicate With Your Team Frequently

Often, remote workers don’t realize what benefits are available.
Educating your team about possible solutions like …

  • Telehealth
  • In-network providers; and
  • Out-of-network visits

… can help them devise a plan to get the care they need.
Sometimes the answer is already available through their current insurance plan.

Offer the Best Health Insurance for Your Remote Workers With the Help of Nevada Benefits

Nevada Benefits has been creating better choices in health insurance across Nevada since 1994.
In Nevada, there are eight key insurance companies with over 200 plans to choose from and the selection process can be confusing for many.
As Nevada’s leading benefits provider, Nevada Benefits works tirelessly to help individuals and small businesses get access to affordable health insurance.
We focus on your business and employees to find the best plan for your budget and requirements.
Nevada Benefits is the …

  • Local
  • Affordable
  • Independent

…insurance and financial services team you can trust.
Contact us today to request a quote or set up a consultation.

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