Health care insurance cost reduction is a very important issue for NAWBO members. The results of the 2010 NAWBO Public Policy Survey show that health care cost issues are third only to the economy and business taxes as issues affecting our members’ businesses and their votes. In this critical time NAWBO wants to be part of the dialogue on health care reform.
NAWBO supports legislation that will make health insurance more affordable for women business owners and their employees. NAWBO will consider and support, as appropriate, federal and state legislation designed to address the rising cost of health insurance by lowering premiums or creating tax incentives that make the purchase of health insurance more affordable for small business owners and their employees.
- Access to affordable health insurance is critical to the well-being of our families, employees, businesses, and communities and is crucial in enabling women to start new enterprises.
- The cost of comprehensive coverage must be affordable for our families and businesses.
- We and our employees should receive quality preventive, acute, and chronic care from providers of our choice.
In NAWBO’s 2010 Public Policy Survey, 81% of the respondents volunteered that the cost and availability of health insurance for themselves and their employees was a top issue for their business.
Fully 65% of those responding to NAWBO’s 2008 Public Policy Survey indicated that reducing costs outweighed expanding coverage and improving quality/reducing errors as the key issue that they want policy makers to address.
When asked to address the principles that should guide NAWBO’s advocacy on behalf of health care reform, NAWBO members focused first on ensuring coverage of preventive care and maintaining choice of providers. Also identified as important were access to consumer information on providers and quality of care, access to comprehensive care for all, and implementation of pay-for-performance measures to improve quality. Keeping deductibles low also had support from over half of the respondents.
NAWBO members recognize that cost reduction also requires us to exercise responsibility to care for our own health and support healthy choices and wellness in our businesses and our families. Business has proven that enhancing wellness works to reduce costs.
- NAWBO members believe that every American needs access to quality care; 74% say that ensuring equitable and comprehensive access to health care for all is important in developing a plan for reform.
- NAWBO members purchase health insurance predominately through the individual and small business insurance markets. While over 70 percent of NAWBO members have employees, about 45% have full time employees. 55% of our members must obtain health insurance in the individual market (or through their spouse’s employer); 35% of NAWBO members purchase insurance in the 2-20 employee business market and 10 percent in the 20+ market.
- NAWBO members face the challenges of both meeting insurers’ medical underwriting requirements for themselves and their employees and paying premiums which may rise steeply when health conditions are diagnosed. Premiums for small businesses are rising faster than in larger employer markets.
- 46% of NAWBO members polled in the 2010 Public Policy Survey thought that Congress should pass a health care reform bill that included a public option. 24% of NAWBO members thought that the government should pass a health care reform bill excluding the public option, while 30% of members thought that Congress should forgo passing a health care reform bill at all.
- In 2008, 65% of NAWBO members reported that reducing the cost of health care and health insurance was the most important health care issue for policy makers to address in any health care reform initiative.
- The Kaiser Family Foundation found that the average annual insurance premium in 2009 for individual employees was $4,824 and the cost for family coverage is $13,375. The study also showed that premiums increased 131% between 1999 and 2009 and family premiums are up 5% just in the past year.
- Medicare is under severe financial strain, which will only increase as Baby Boomers reach 65.
- In the 2008 NAWBO Public Policy survey, over 90% of respondents identified choice of plans and providers and coverage for preventive health and well care as critical to reform measures.
- Financial connections between providers/researchers, expensive and ineffective or harmful medications, and preventable medical errors in hospitals all increase the cost of care. Addressing these issues will help control costs and improve quality.
- While many NAWBO members polled in 2010 were concerned with lowering costs and covering the uninsured in health care reform, most were more worried about taking the reform too far and sacrificing quality of care and choice of doctor.
NAWBO is a member of the Coalition for Affordable Health Coverage. The Coalition supports and advocates for “market-oriented approaches and tax incentives or other subsidies to promote affordable health coverage for all, including the uninsured.” Tax parity for the treatment of health expenses for individuals and the self-employed is also a focus of the Coalition.