HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius [pictured] today released a new report, "Lower Premiums, Stronger Businesses: How Health Insurance Reform Will Bring Down Costs for Small Businesses." The report outlines the many ways in which health insurance reform will lower health care costs for small businesses, and is available now at HealthReform.gov [http://www.healthreform.gov/].
"Small businesses drive our economy and create jobs, but they are struggling as health care costs continue to rise," Secretary Sebelius said. "The high cost of care is making it difficult or impossible for these businesses to offer care or grow their business. Health insurance reform will bring costs down and give small businesses the relief they need."
The report notes:
* Small businesses, the backbone of job creation in our economy, are disproportionately burdened by the financial strains caused by rising health care costs. On average, small businesses pay up to 18 percent more than large firms for the same health insurance policy. This difference is due, in part, to high broker fees [which can be up to 10 percent of premiums] and health plan administrative costs that are three times those in the large-group market.
* In a recent national survey, nearly three-quarters of small businesses that did not offer benefits cited high premiums as the reason.
* Nearly half of workers covered by a small-business employer have insurance that limits the total amount that the plan will pay for medical care, and nearly one in 10 small-business workers have a health plan that does not offer prescription drug coverage.
* Workers in small firms are more likely to shoulder burdensome out-of-pocket health care costs. Thirty-six percent spent more than 10 percent of their household income on out-of-pocket medical expenses in 2007, compared with 27 percent of workers in larger firms.
Health insurance reform will bring down costs for small businesses by creating a health insurance exchange; providing a small-business tax credit; ending the "hidden tax" on small businesses that provide health insurance; and preventing arbitrary premium hikes. Reform will also ensure that Americans have stable, secure insurance coverage, limit out-of-pocket spending, and eliminate caps on benefits.
To learn more about how health insurance reform will benefit small businesses and read the complete report, visit http://bit.ly/LowPremiumsStrongBiz.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
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