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Study finds economic burden of health insurance increasing for small employers
Date:4/4/2008

.4 percent in 2000 to 10.8 percent of payroll by 2005, an increase of nearly 30 percent.

In contrast, companies with 25 to 49 workers saw health insurance costs grow by 16 percent, and businesses with 50 to 99 workers saw costs grow by 25 percent. Overall, more than half of the small companies spent more than 10 percent of payroll on health insurance costs during 2005, according to the study.

One unexpected finding was that both small businesses and large businesses (those with more than 100 employees) have higher health insurance burdens than medium-sized businesses (companies with 25 to 99 employees).

Eibner said this may be because many small firms require all employees to participate in the health insurance plan, or because small companies that offer health insurance may have workers with an unusually high demand for health care and the companies dont have the economies of scale to spread out the expense. Medium-sized businesses, on the other hand, may not require all employees to participate, which would help cut costs.

The study also found that small businesses tended to offer plans that were of slightly lower quality than those offered by larger companies. Larger businesses were more likely to offer drug and dental coverage, and non-HMO plans offered by large companies also tend to have lower deductibles and coinsurance rates.

An average worker at a small firm would expect to spend 1.9 percent of his or her annual earnings on out-of-pocket health expenses, while an average worker at a firm with more than 100 employees would expect to pay 1.3 percent of annual earnings on medical expenses, according to the RAND report.


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Contact: Lisa Sodders
media@rand.org
310-451-6913
RAND Corporation
Source:Eurekalert

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