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Small firms creatively fight health costs (Business Courier)

Owner: 'All we're doing is interpreting the code'

When Keith Vande Stadt saw the monthly HMO premiums for his one-man business jump from $650 to more than $900 last year, he started shopping around.

What Vande Stadt, an information technology consultant who runs VanData LLC from his Anderson Township home, finally settled on is one of a half-dozen alternative strategies that a growing number of small employers are using to reduce health care insurance costs — and even save money on plans that cost employees less than the traditional approach.

Caution is advised before implementing these strategies, some of which are quite complicated.

Options include using Section 105 of the tax code to deduct nearly 100 percent of medical costs as a business expense, pairing gap insurance with high-deductible coverage to reduce premium costs and helping employees better utilize government-run health plans such as Medicare and the Children's Health Insurance Program to reduce expenses for workers and their employers.


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