If you’re a small business owner or manager in North Texas, I’m sure the recent Dallas/Fort Worth article in the Business Section titled, “9 North Texas Employers Unite to Collect Data for Health Plans,” intrigued you. I was intrigued – and quickly became upset.
For us insurance geeks, the article made it painfully obvious that large employers get to play in a different sandbox than the rest of us. If these large employers can get together to determine “how they manage benefits and purchasing only the most needed health options to keep workers healthy and out of doctor offices,” which in turn will help them reduce their premiums – why can’t small businesses do the same? The answer is yes we could (as an single Association or several associations), but the carriers really don’t want to deal with small business in that manner – and existing state and federal laws almost make it impossible. The end result will be that large companies will be able to find ways to mitigate any cost increases in health care while small business will continue to see the double digit increases which have plagued us for the past decade – and the foreseeable future.
The recent legislation (Affordable Health Care) does NOT address the issue of costs for small business. In fact when one really looks at the net effect, employers will find it much more economical to pay the penalties of not offering health insurance and forcing their employees to pay for their own insurance from the “pools.” Given that mandated coverages will be “richer” than what many small employers presently offer, many are going to be rudely shocked at the personal costs of “Obamacare.” Many individuals have been led to believe that the legislation will make health care easier to obtain and much more affordable. This may be true for some individuals, but the folks in small business and their employees (who were supposedly the target of this legislation) may pay a very steep price. I will close by quoting an old, and probably over used, axiom – “There is no free lunch.”