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Small businesses would see lower costs, more comprehensive coverage from health reform
Date:9/8/2009

September 9, 2009, New York, NYSmall business owners and employees are among those who stand to benefit the most from provisions in some of the current health reform proposals under consideration by Congress according to a Commonwealth Fund report released today. Provisions to extend health care coverage to everyone and repair the small group insurance market would alleviate high premium costs, high broker fees, underwriting, and a lack of transparency about benefit packages that small business owners currently face.

Currently, 39 million Americans work for small businesses (defined as those with fewer than 50 employees) and only 25 percent of them have health insurance through their employer, the report, Out of Options: Why So Many Workers in Small Businesses Lack Affordable Health Insurance and How Health Care Reform Can Help, finds.

While some workers buy coverage on their own or obtain coverage through a family member, half (52%) of people working for small businesses are uninsured or underinsured, compared to 28 percent working for larger firms. The gap in employer coverage between large and small firm employees widened over 2003 and 2007. In addition, when small business employees do have coverage, it is often less comprehensive: 48 percent have health insurance plans with lifetime coverage limits, compared to 37 percent of employees in large firms.

"Small businesses are vital to the strength of our economy, and under our current system they don't have the ability to provide affordable, comprehensive health insurance to their employees," said Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis. "Health reform provisions that take into account the insurance problems currently facing small business owners and their employees will provide security and stability to a large and important segment of the American workforce and their families."

The report analyzed the effect specific pieces of legislation will have on small business
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Contact: Mary Mahon
mm@cmwf.org
212-606-3853
Commonwealth Fund
Source:Eurekalert

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