Small Business Health Insurance: An Owners Dilemma

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The vast majority of Alexandria businesses are in the small business category those with 20 employees or less. A recent report jointly released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Small Business Administration identifies employees of such businesses most at risk of losing their employer-provided health insurance.

Entitled Insurance at Risk: Small Business Employees Risk Losing Coverage, the study examines the cost of existing health care programs and underscores the financial difficulties small businesses face when providing health insurance to their employees. The complete report is available at www.HealthReform.gov.

On average, small businesses pay 18 percent more than big businesses for the same health insurance policy, said SBA Administrator Karen Mills on releasing the report with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. This has left small business owners in an untenable situation, having to chose between their employees, who are often like family to them, and the bottom line. 

Premiums for employer-based health insurance have more than doubled since 2000, rising three times faster than wages, according to the report. As a result, the number of firms with less than 10 employees providing health insurance has decreased 11 percent over the past nine years, the report noted.

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