We must work together to pursue creative, private market solutions to what has become an unsustainable problem for small businesses - increasing small group health insurance costs.
Arroyo Grande, CA (PRWEB) March 30, 2009
Small businesses desperately looking for ways to reduce operating costs are canceling their employer group health plans at a rate not seen in more than twenty years, creating a spike in individual and family health insurance enrollments.
"Insurance companies offering individual medical coverage cannot hire and train new employees fast enough to keep up with the recent spike in private health insurance enrollments", said Tom Carolan, Director of Client Services for BestHealthcareRates.com, a health insurance information website based in Arroyo Grande, California. Carolan continued, "the plight of the individual health insurance market is the focus of much media attention, but it is vitally important to economic recovery that small businesses get help".
As the nation is engaged in overall health care reform, a focus on making sure small businesses are able to receive affordable medical insurance is being called a top priority at a joint press conference with the National Federation of Independent Business and (NFIB) and America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP).
On the accessibility of affordable health coverage, Dan Danner, the CEO and president of the NFIB, stated his thoughts on the importance of this matter: "We must work together to pursue creative, private market solutions to what has become an unsustainable problem for small businesses - increasing small group health insurance costs." He continued by adding, "It is imperative that insurance market reform - specifically in the individual health and small group health insurance markets - leads to greater access to larger pools, increased portability and competitive choices."
The AHIP conducted a nationwide tour of the United States to get opinions and stories directly from the American people in regards to their experiences with health care institutions. The people with whom they talked to were also asked for their ideas for health care reform. During their conference the AHIIP released their findings to the joint committee.
- Small group health insurance premiums averaged $913 per month for family medical plans and $346 for individual medical coverage.
- Health insurance premiums ranged from as low as $198 a month in Washington to $504 a month in Alaska.
- Companies with more employees generally paid less than companies with fewer employees.
- Forty-one percent of businesses had an HMO plan, 50% had a PPO and only 7% were enrolled in heath savings plans in 2008.
AHIP released a statement highlighting the specific needs and obstacles faced by small businesses, calling policymakers' attention to difficulties faced by small businesses. The organization recently launched the "Campaign for an American Solution", a new national grassroots and educational initiative to build support for workable health care reform based on core principles shared by the American people: coverage, affordability, quality, value, choice and portability.
In a letter to key Senators last week, AHIP and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association offered to curb its practice of charging higher premiums to people with a history of medical problems. The offer from AHIP and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a potentially significant shift in the debate over overhauling the nation's health care system to rein in costs and cover an estimated 48 million uninsured people. In the letter, the two insurance industry groups said their members are willing to "phase out the practice of varying premiums based on health status in the individual health insurance market" if all Americans are required to get health insurance coverage.
"The offer here is to transition away from risk rating, which is one of the things that makes life hell for real people," said health economist Len Nichols of the New America Foundation public policy center. "They have never in their history offered to give up risk rating."
"This letter demonstrates that insurance companies are open to major insurance reform and are even willing to accept broad consumer protections," said Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., a moderate who could help bridge differences on a health care overhaul. "It represents a major shift from where the industry was in the 1990s during the last major health care debate."
AHIP has published its proposal for health care reform to make medical insurance affordable, and they state: The U.S. could reduce total health care spending and improve the quality of patient care if the plan proposed today by America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) was implemented. PricewaterhouseCoopers reviewed AHIP's proposals and estimates, and concluded that if these proposals are fully implemented, the nation's total health care expenditures could be $145 billion lower than currently projected by the year 2015.
Since 2001 BestHealthcareRates.com has helped thousands of families and businesses to find the most insurance benefits for their insurance budget. BestHealthcareRates.com, an insurance shopping and information website, provides free quotes & resources to consumers looking for an affordable medical plans. BestHealthcareRates.com hopes to increase consumer awareness of the hurdles which stand in the way of affordable medical insurance for every American. For more information, visit http://www.BestHealthcareRates.com or call Tom Carolan, Director of Client Services 1-877-812-5111.