Small Businesses Struggle to Offer Healthcare

Some say government should offer helping hand

Among its findings released earlier this year, 62% of those surveyed find it more difficult to offer employees a strong benefits package today compared with a year ago; 52% now offer less medical insurance coverage, and nearly 60% are aggressively seeking ways to reduce insurance costs. Of course, this does not negate findings that small business owners still worry about the costs of benefits for employees (59%).

“This is the same story we hear from businesses all across the country,” says ReShonda Young, operations manager for Alpha Express Inc., a family-owned, 34-employee courier service based in Waterloo, Iowa, and member of the National Advisory Council of the Main Street Alliance, a national network of small business coalitions in 15 states working with small business owners to advocate for healthcare. “Many small businesses are cutting back on coverage, going to policies with higher deductibles or passing more of the costs onto their employees.”

President Barack Obama is adamant about seeing the healthcare reform bill pass by the end of the year. In his administration’s 2010 fiscal budget, Obama plans to reserve $630 billion over the next 10 years towards financing reforms for the healthcare system. This money will allow people to have a choice between health plans and physicians, which they anticipate would lead to more affordable healthcare. The reform will be financed through seven initiatives, such as reducing Medicare overpayments to private insurers through competitive payments.

Young, 34, is on par with the Main Street Alliance’s position that calls on the government to take responsibility.

“In many states, there is no competition in the private insurance market,” she says, adding that small businesses need “real choices” between private and public health insurance plans. “A public option, similar to the plan offered to government employees, is the best option in my opinion. If not, there needs to be government regulation and transparency within the heath insurance industry.”

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  • Simone,

    I thinks it’s interesting to look back at articles every so often and see what has changed, if anything. And while it’sonly been 2 months since your article was published, not much progress has been made. There is one point that I would like to bring up that is unfortunate, at best. If left unchecked it could grow into a terrible situation.

    While it is admirable that Ewing Moving Services give a bonus in lieu of providing insurance in hopes that their employees would find their own coverage. One could speculate that they are setting a large number of their employees up for failure.

    In these difficult times… a bonus will be seen as just that, a bonus. Extra money to pay bills, Holiday pocketbook relief orjust the ability to make there be a little bit less month at the end of the money is most likely what any bonus will be seen as.

    As a fitness professional and 27 year veteran of the health and wellness industry, I think that there should be much more talk about affordable preventative care. Not necessarily gym memberships (that’s fine) but programs that will affectpeoples liveson the front end that are easily implemented and cost effective.

    Sorry this is so long but whenyou really think about it, we’re talking about peoples lives. I think that lives of my brothers and sisters all across the country are more important than politics.

    Thanks for reading,

    Scott G. Smith

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