By: Adam Groff
Small business owners face enough challenges, so when they are not able to offer healthcare to current or future employees, the job of running a small business becomes that much harder.
Why are so many small businesses struggling with health care and is there a happy healthcare middle ground to be found?
The Cost of Health
Depending on the plan and policy, health care coverage is too costly for many small businesses. In fact, the U.S. healthcare system imposes taxes on small businesses that include brokerage fees and administrative costs that don’t affect larger businesses.
As a result, small businesses tend to pay almost 20% more per employee than bigger companies with the same health care policy. This number is staggering for small businesses with lower annual incomes like mom and pop stores.
Who Pays What?
Because small businesses, even those with five or fewer employees, are unable to cover the entirety of their employees’ healthcare, thousands of small businesses are losing applicants and current employees to larger businesses with better plans.
In other words, if a business that pays $150 a month per employee in healthcare related expenses chooses to pass 1/3 the cost to its employees, the employees pay $50 a month out of pocket for coverage. That’s a lot to ask for from anybody who works for a living.
Known as Obamacare, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires businesses with fifty plus employees to provide health insurance to all employees or risk penalization. Although this exempts many small businesses, there’s more to it than that.
Under the new healthcare reform, although small businesses don’t have to offer health insurance, the ones that do are banned from turning away applicants with pre-existing conditions.
Likewise, those companies providing health care inherently look more desirable than those that don’t thus reducing applicant interest in many smaller businesses. This just adds to the idea that when it comes to health care, there’s no way to please everyone.
The Middle Ground
With all the debate surrounding healthcare reform, its affect on small business, and its affect on employees, there must be a silver lining in the healthcare clouds, right? Luckily, there is legislation underway right now trying to level the insurance playing field.
For example, insurance exchanges are being developed that allow certain small businesses to choose from a variety of plans with a range of price points. This gives small businesses insurance options based on what each employee needs.
Additionally, small businesses that do provide health insurance to their employees will receive tax credits. These credits offset some of the costs associated with insuring smaller businesses thus alleviating financial strain and attracting more applicants.
The Future of Healthcare
The hope is that tax credits in combination with insurance exchanges and other incentives will spark more small businesses into forming. And, whether new or established, these small businesses will no longer lose applicants due to a lack of health insurance.
When it comes down to it, healthcare should be considered both a privilege as well as a necessity.
And, if the right steps are taken, an applicant can finally take a job based on skill level and desire, not whether it provides the proper coverage.
About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of compelling content. He specializes in writing on a variety of topics including personal health,online reputation, and insurance for insurance’s sake.