Businesses, especially small businesses, are facing soaring healthcare costs. Planned state and federal legislation is supposed to help, but will it be enough?
There are about 20 million uninsured people in the U.S. who are employed by small businesses or are self employed. Companies with 200 employees or less pay around 18% more for than big companies for the same plan. So as the cost of providing health care rises, fewer and fewer companies are able to provide their employees with insurance.
Congress has a bill in each house that’s aimed at getting more small businesses to provide insurance. And some state governments have already stepped in with legislation.
Each state’s legislation’s a little different.
New Mexico and Montana are trying to find a way to let smaller companies join together to buy insurance and take advantage of large employer discounts.
Massachusetts is working on expanding their individual coverage to include small businesses.
Connecticut’s trying to pass legislation to allow small businesses to join with the state’s employee plans, but the bill was vetoed in the last election. The governor has vowed to reintroduce it next year.
Other states, like Colorado, are passing laws dictating how much insurers can charge companies.
The U.S. Senate and House bills aim to let small businesses create purchasing pools so they can take advantage of buying insurance “in bulk” like their larger counterparts. It’ll also offer tax credits to businesses that provide coverage.
Representatives of small businesses, like the National Federation of Independent Business, are supporting the legislation. But it’s getting huge opposition from insurers who say they’re concerned about underlying cost.