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Survey: Small businesses are facing ‘affordability crisis’ in providing health insurance

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Business Practices | Collision Repair | Insurance
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Cost is the biggest barrier preventing small businesses from offering health insurance to their employers, according to a newly-released survey.

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) said in its assessment that small businesses are facing a “substantial affordability crisis in providing health insurance for their employees.”

The survey found that most employers find it a challenge to manage the cost of providing business-sponsored health insurance, with nearly half of small business owners taking a pay cut or taking a loss to cover health insurance premium spikes throughout the past five years.

“Health insurance has been a continuous challenge for small business owners,” said Holly Wade, executive director of NFIB’s Research Center. “The cost of health insurance is by far the biggest challenge for employers who offer health insurance and for those who do not offer it. Small employers compete for talent in filling open positions and are aware that health insurance is an important benefit for many employees and job seekers.”

The report found:

    • More than half of small employers cannot offer health insurance for employees.
    • That while 89% of businesses with at least 30 employees offer health insurance, just 39% of businesses with less than 10 employees do the same
    • Of small businesses offering health insurance, 37% enrolled most of their employees in a high deductible preferred provider organization (PPO)
    • 65% of the small businesses who don’t offer health insurance opted out because it was too expensive
    • 98% of small employers that do offer health insurance are worried continuing to do so will be unsustainable within the next five to 10 years.

Help making healthcare insurance more affordable is available through Gravie, a health benefits company serving members of the collision repair industry through a relationship with the Society of Collision Repair Specialists (SCRS).

Gravie, which secured an additional $179 million equity investment this month as a result of its continued growth and established value proposition to both small businesses and existing investors, is on a journey to help make healthcare more affordable.

It has described its flagship Comfort plan as “the first-of-its-kind health plan that eliminates cost barriers and provides value to all participants, promoting better long-term health and improved customer satisfaction.”

It offers comprehensive coverage of all essential benefits and first-dollar coverage and no copays on the most common healthcare services such as office visits, labs and imaging, prescriptions, and mental health services.

Through the SCRS benefits center, industry employees and their relatives have access to healthcare coverage options through Gravie.

Benefits of the core plans offered through the association partnership include:

    • $0 deductibles and employees choose their out-of-pocket maximum
    • No-cost services for visiting primary care physicians, specialists, urgent care, labs, or having X-Rays. Generic prescriptions and mental health services are also free.
    • Out-of-pocket maximums range from $3,000-$7,900
    • Aetna and Cigna networks

Through Gravie, rolling dates are effective on the first day of each month, allowing individuals or small businesses to enroll at their convenience.

Small businesses seeking health coverage for their employees can take advantage of Gravie’s partnership with HR platform Decisely to find the right plans.

Kevin Dunn, Decisely chief executive, encouraged small businesses to “get creative” when brainstorming ways to make health insurance possible. One idea is to join organizations such as the SCRS to leverage the power of larger numbers that can bring down the cost of health insurance, he said.

“Decisely’s purpose is to facilitate these types of connections – finding ways to aggregate larger numbers of like-minded businesses to access more affordable and better healthcare solutions like Gravie,” Dunn told Repairer Driven News.

“Traditional carriers place barriers on healthcare with copays and high deductibles. Decisely and Gravie collaborate and eliminate or significantly reduce these barriers, placing an emphasis on preventative care and wellness. They encourage employees to use their insurance by eliminating costly co-pay barriers.  They believe that employee wellness is not only the right thing to do, but also a key to employer loyalty and retention. When an employee and her family are healthy, they can focus while at work and deliver more value.”

He said it appears the strategy is paying off, with policies saving employers an average of 16% over a three-month period compared to their previous plans.

“Employees are also saving an average of $80 per month on their healthcare costs,” he said. “It’s working in the automotive industry, as well as quick service restaurants, healthcare, and transportation. It works. ”


Featured image by designer491/iStock

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