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May 16, 2007

Small Businesses Struggle To Afford Employer Health Insurance

American Public Media's "Marketplace" on Monday examined how small businesses are dealing with rapidly rising employee health insurance costs. "Marketplace" profiled Lincoln Precision Machining, a Massachusetts company with about 20 employees that has seen health insurance premiums for each worker increase from $460 per month in 1999 to nearly $1,500 per month today. The company used to pay the entire premium but now requires workers to pay about $300 per month.

John Arensmeyer, head of the Small Business Majority, said, "Many times, entrepreneurs can't get health insurance because they're too high a risk," adding, "If you run a small business and you can get rated just based on yourself or a few other employees, you may be out of luck finding affordable insurance at all." Arensmeyer also said that small businesses need a system that guarantees access to affordable health insurance.

Gary Claxton, vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation and director of the Kaiser Family Foundation Health Care Marketplace Project, said there is national momentum towards broad-based health plans like initiatives in Massachusetts and California, adding that there "be some business opposition, because most of the proposals that we see do require businesses to do something" (Ryssdal, "Marketplace," American Public Media, 5/14).

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Posted by healthinsurance at May 16, 2007 05:11 PM