Rising cost of health insurance has some small businesses considering stopping coverage

For some workers, health coverage could be on the chopping block depending on their employers, especially if they are small businesses. 

Fifty days in office, President Joe Biden and Congress have a tall order from small businesses across America - bring down the cost of health insurance. 

"Health costs, health insurance costs and the cost of coverage as a whole, is actually one of the largest issues that small business owners are dealing with. And in the survey, we actually saw they are very focused on calling on policy makers that they address this issue," said Rhett Buttle, Public Private Strategies.

More than 800 small businesses were polled by the group Small Business for America's Future. What they found is there's a huge need for help. 

In all, half of the small businesses polled said they give health insurance to their employees. When asked, nearly 80 percent of those that don't provide coverage say it's because the cost is too high.

And to give you an idea of how tight of a budget it is, more than half of small business owners polled said they considered dropping it because of rising costs.

The COVID-19 Relief Bill may provide a bandage for the problem. But there needs to be more. 

"On the health insurance side, there is a fair amount of new tax credits available for individuals we're looking to get health insurance for the first time so we'll see all of that as a positive step," Buttle said. "One of the bigger challenges as we have a macro systemic problem with health insurance cost in our country, it will take large systemic government reform that's really the challenge that needs to be the next thing is that policymakers think about if they wanna help main street businesses survive."
Many polled in the survey say They're concerned that the Biden-Harris Administration and Congress aren't going to do enough to bring down healthcare costs. Part of the issue they deal with, purchasing the right health insurance for the right price to give to their employees.

"We are really talking about a range, everything that you would see from your main street dry cleaner, your coffee shop up into your 10 to 15 person consulting or legal firm, the small business health insurance market is really disadvantaged," Buttle said. "Large corporations, struggle with similar issues, but they're able to use their competitive purchasing power to drive down cost more. Small employers don't have that same advantage."

So the call is out for there to bring more health insurance players to the market. The solution? drug manufacturers, hospitals, and health insurance companies all sitting down to figure out how to help businesses.

This conversation is going to require lawmakers to get on board.

"As Congress is looking forward to the next step, there is a big question about what their priorities are going to be," Buttle said. "The message we are hearing from small business owners, is that health cost is something that Congress needs to tackle."

The Affordable Care Act does give small businesses new options and also gave people working for those businesses options too.

The system is set up where it doesn't drive up enough competition. There are a series of measures that Congress could put in place that would allow more competition in the system. That would be a start.