A new survey by the National Small Business Association (NSBA) on Health Care Reform Survey found that 92 percent of small businesses are planning for an increase in their premiums in the coming year. Although the average expected increase is 13 percent, one-fifth anticipate premium increases of more than 20 percent next year.
“The cost of health insurance has dire implications on small business job creation,” stated Todd McCracken, president and CEO of NSBA. “Premium increases forced 31 percent of small businesses to hold off on hiring a new employee, and 19 percent to actually lay-off an employee. This cannot continue if we have any hope of economic growth in the near future.”
In addition to having broad implications for small-business job creation, offering health insurance to employees has for many years served as a significant competitive disadvantage for small businesses in competing with larger companies, the NSBA said. Nearly 80 percent believe that offering health insurance provides their small company a competitive advantage in recruiting and retaining top quality employees.
The 2009 Small Business Health Care Reform Survey provides an updated snapshot of how the small-business community is faring when it comes to health care, the NSBA said. Additionally, the survey provides timely small-business opinions on various proposals currently being addressed in Congress.
Regarding the employer’s role in reform, the overwhelming majority—73 percent—stated their opposition to a requirement that employers make a financial contribution to employees’ health plan or pay some kind of fee, the NSBA said.
Affordability is a key tenet in small-business owners’ ability to provide health insurance and also should be in any reform proposal. Among those not currently offering their employees health insurance, 63 percent said they would do so if it were more affordable.
NSBA said its small-business members have expressed wide-spread concern that the various proposals offered to date don’t include the kind of cost-containment policies that would ensure the affordability of a required health insurance policy.
“Today, despite the very contentious public debate over how to fix the U.S. health care system, 62 percent of small-business owners believe passing some kind of health care reform in the next year is important,” stated Keith Ashmus, NSBA chair and co-founding partner at Frantz Ward LLP, Cleveland, Ohio “The key is enacting reform that won't make costs go up--reform that guarantees access, affordability and quality while ensuring American small businesses are no longer at a competitive disadvantage."