Health insurance in small businesses
The fierce debates surrounding the healthcare system reform has involved many aspects of the market and small businesses have also been dragged into the spotlight. And although many things have been said, the policymakers in fact didn't posses the necessary data regarding the situation with health coverage in small and young businesses. And this is certainly a very important part of the whole picture, since small businesses play an important role in our economy and have to be taken into consideration as well.
So what's the situation in small businesses? And will the employees at such enterprises get the health benefits as all American citizens will be required by 2014? According to the current data, there's little chance that such workers will get any benefits under employer-sponsored group insurance pans.
The research conducted by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation has analyzed the decisions in terms of health coverage across 5,000 enterprises that started out in 2004. A set of factors has been taken into account in order to asses how insurance decisions have affected business performance – something that proponents of mandatory health coverage state as a strong argument for implementing group insurance plans.
Many supporters of the health reform say that by providing group health benefits the company improves its working conditions and becomes more attractive to qualified professionals, which in turn leads to the increase in overall performance of the business in whole.
While this might hold true for big companies and corporations, two-thirds of newly started businesses didn't offer any health insurance plans to their employees in the course of five years after initiation. The remaining one third consists primarily of large companies and corporations with higher financial resources and bigger salaries for workers – under such circumstances group health insurance might be a nice bonus for the worker but it would be wrong to say that insurance can actually affect the performance of the company.
After analyzing the data from enterprises that were actually providing their workers will healthcare benefits, the researchers have found no link between insurance decisions and such factors as asset growth, income growth and other important performance indicators even in the long run.
The remaining majority of enterprises that didn't offer any insurance to their workers is primarily comprised of small businesses under sole proprietorship or partnership. These businesses are the meat and potatoes of the economy, with hundred thousand of new ones being registered each year in the US and providing jobs to millions of Americans. These enterprises simply don't have the financial resources for providing their workers with such benefits as employer-sponsored health plans, being focused primarily on meeting the salary requirements.
So what conclusions can we draw from the research? Fist of all, small businesses aren't the place to look for group health plans. And if that's one of your primary conditions for a job then you should seek employment in a large and established company rather than a small family business, although the salaries could match in both cases. And second, if you want to go with the reform, you'll have to buy individual health insurance while working for a small business, since it's very unlikely that your employer will be striving to give you a group plan just to meet the reform requirements. It will be at your won discretion.