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Health Care Reform Helps Small Businesses Offer Coverage: Report
Date:9/2/2010

ndard, comprehensive benefit package.
  • In 2014, plans cannot deny coverage or refuse insurance to those with existing medical conditions.
  • Those working for small businesses who aren't offered insurance by their employers can buy health insurance through the insurance exchanges.
  • People with families of four with incomes up to $88,000 will be eligible for subsidies to help them pay their premiums.
  • In addition, Medicaid is being expanded to include everyone earning up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, which is $29,327 a year for a family of four, according to the report.

    William Donelan, vice president for medical affairs at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said that "this may be among the most important components of the overall bill."

    "It really does target a population of Americans who work in small businesses and make relatively modest wages," he said. "This is a group of people who have rapidly joined the ranks of the uninsured, because their employer can't afford it and they can't afford it in the individual insurance marketplace."

    Also released Thursday: A report from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust says that employees are now paying almost $4,000 toward the cost of health insurance, which is an increase of 14 percent, or $482, above what they paid last year.

    According to the report, the increase occurred even though the total premiums rose only 3 percent, to $13,770 this year.

    Since 2005, employees' contributions to premiums have risen 47 percent, while overall premiums rose 27 percent, wages increased 18 percent, and inflation rose 12 percent, the researchers pointed out.

    Many employers are also raising deductibles. Twenty-seven percent of workers now have annual deductibles of $1,000, up from 22 percent in 2009. Among small firms, 46 percent have such deductibles, the survey found.

    "High out-of-pocket expense
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