Small Business

Small Business Owners’ Views of Health Care Costs

Published on December 18, 2019


According to a 2019 survey published by The Commonwealth Fund, health care costs are one of the most significant concerns faced by small business owners today. However, many employers have proactively taken a variety of steps to lower their increasing health care costs. Small business owners have also found health care brokers to be helpful resources when selecting their medical benefits.

Health care costs are a critical concern among small business owners

Although employers cited a variety of challenges affecting small businesses, The Commonwealth Fund survey found that the majority of small business owners (37 percent) said that the cost of providing health coverage to their employees was the top problem they faced.

Notably, small businesses of all sizes and employee counts thought that affording health care costs was a major issue, according to the survey. Part of the challenge for small business owners may stem from trying to keep up with the employee benefits offered by larger companies, which often include group health insurance plans.

Beyond problems with being able to afford health care costs, employers in the survey also expressed that they faced considerable challenges related to offering health insurance coverage. Specifically, they cited a lack of health plan choices and rising prescription drug costs, as well as the difficulty of getting clear, unbiased information to make their health insurance purchasing decisions.

How have small business owners responded to rising health care costs?

As a result of increasing health care costs, some employers have decided to take proactive steps to better manage the financial aspects of their coverage. These actions have typically included increasing cost-sharing contributions for employees and making adjustments to their health insurance carriers.

According to the Commonwealth Fund survey:

  • Almost half of small business owners (48 percent) increased deductibles or copayments for their employees.
  • One quarter of employers (25 percent) required their employees to pay higher premiums.
  • 29 percent of employers went to their current carrier to negotiate the rates of their health care costs, while 27 percent decided to switch carriers.

How can health care brokers help small businesses?

Overall, many employers have made difficult decisions regarding how to balance their health insurance coverage with running their business, often due to rising health care costs and a lack of available resources. Fortunately, health insurance brokers can help small business owners by providing relevant information that can assist them when choosing or evaluating their group health coverage options.

The Commonwealth Fund survey found that health care brokers serve an important role in the selection of health insurance benefits for small businesses:

  • When deciding how to select benefits and plans, most small business owners said that they used health care brokers (69 percent), or an internal human resource department (43 percent).
  • The majority of small business owners view health care brokers as helpful (92 percent), and over half (51 percent) said that health care brokers are very helpful.

For a small business, the primary benefit of working with a health care broker like eHealth is having access to a greater selection of affordable, quality health plans. When you connect with eHealth as your small business health insurance broker, your company gains the advantages of:

  • Free personalized quotes – You can get free group health quotes through eHealth, with no obligations and no broker fees. Our online private health exchange makes it easy for you to quickly find what options are available in your area.
  • Effective comparison tools – eHealth’s website helps you compare plans from different health insurance companies side by side, allowing you to find the policies that work for your budget and coverage preferences, all in one place.
  • Helpful customer service – Our licensed health insurance agents are dedicated to helping you find the optimal plan for yourself and your employees. They can provide you with unbiased advice when choosing a plan, walk you through our streamlined enrollment process, and serve as your point of contact with the insurance company, even after you enroll in a plan.

Ultimately, working with eHealth empowers you to choose the right health plan for your business. Visit our website today to explore your options for small business health insurance coverage.

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