Health Insurance and the Small Business
Waiting for answers on health insurance coverageJanuary 27, 2011 By Ed Sachs
(Editor's Note: Ed Sachs has stepped away from writing the Sachs Report, but for the next couple of weeks, we're going to be running "best of" editions in this space; a new newsletter will be launching soon in its place. In this column, from last fall, Ed talks about employers and health insurance:)
As hard as it may be for many of you to believe, I have not yet reached the age of eligibility for Social Security and Medicare. A lot of that has to do with genetics and how youthful I still appear. After all, I was carded to buy an adult beverage as recently as 48 years ago.
The reason I bring this to your attention is that my family and I have just concluded the horrifying experience of finding health insurance coverage, at least until I am able to put my medical needs in the hands of the government. I now have even greater respect for the decision of my previous employer aggreeing to pay for my family's health coverage until just last month.
Therefore, this week's column is about small business and health care- examining who exactly is in control.
There is not an issue for either of my sons, for whom acquiring health care coverage is relatively easy, with reasonable rates to boot. I define reasonable as any premium that has only two or three digits and no commas before the decimal point. That is- if you consider that the son in college is afforded health care as a condition of his tuition that has five digits and one comma before the decimal. The problem centers on my wife and I. She looks much younger than even I, simply because she actually is much younger.
The benefit of having a small business is that it allows us to have guaranteed health coverage as long as we are willing to pay the premiums that have commas in them.
Our insurance broker, however, wanted to test the waters of individual coverage by applying to three health care providers in California. He advised that if we were approved, the premiums would be much less than that. The suspicious gene in me guessed it might have had something to do with commission. But I am certainly not one who is opposed to commission selling.
Group plans mandate coverage for a number of things that my wife and I have outgrown, such as maternity. While we no longer need that coverage (as evidenced by my wife's reenactment of the face she gave me in the delivery room during the birth of our youngest son), it is a required condition of group health care coverage for businesses.