Analysts: Small-business employee insurance down but reform should help

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Fewer small-business employees, especially those earning low wages, were offered health insurance in 2010, or could afford it, an analysis finds.

While 58% of U.S. workers in small businesses were offered health insurance in 2003, that was down to 49% two years ago, according to an analysis of the Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance Survey of 2010.

In 2003, 42% of low-wage workers were enrolled in employer plans, but that dropped to about 33% in 2010. Comparatively, around 90% of workers in firms of 100 or more were offered and eligible for benefits both years. Big-firm workers also were more likely to have a choice of plans, less likely to have trouble paying medical debt, and less likely to have an annual deductible of $1,000.

While independent and small long-term facility owners have expressed concern about Affordable Care Act provisions around health insurance, the Commonwealth Fund authors said that Affordable Care Act provisions will help small businesses through tax credits, expanded eligibility for Medicaid, new insurance market protections for small businesses, health insurance exchanges, and an individual requirement to have health insurance.

“The Affordable Care Act will improve the affordability and comprehensiveness of coverage for both small businesses who want to offer coverage and for workers in small businesses who are not offered and eligible for coverage through their jobs,” the authors wrote.

Click here- to read the report.

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