Ever-rising health insurance costs are crippling America’s job creators and communities nationwide. For four decades, the cost of health insurance has been the No. 1 problem for small businesses. The problem is now exploding into a crisis, according to the latest survey from the National Federation of Independent Business. A stunning 97 percent of small businesses report that health care costs will become unsustainable for them within the next decade.
Small business owners are being forced to make tough decisions in response to these skyrocketing costs. The percentage of small businesses offering health insurance has dropped dramatically in the last decade from roughly 40 percent in 2010 to 30 percent in 2021. Meanwhile, the businesses that do offer coverage have no choice but to pass rising costs on to their customers. Almost half of small employers (46 percent) report raising their prices. And half of small employers earn less due to health insurance premium increases over the last five years.
Small business owners desperately want to take care of their employees, but the broken health insurance system makes it harder to compete in attracting top talent. Main Street faces higher costs than large corporations because small businesses don’t have the same market power and face higher regulatory requirements and mandates.
Take NFIB small business owner member Kelly Moore. Kelly and her husband, Greg, are the proud owners of a National Automotive Parts Association small business in Ohio. Like many others, they’ve had to make once unthinkable choices to keep their businesses afloat. They used to offer a group health plan, contributing to 80 percent of their employees’ premiums. Skyrocketing premiums ultimately forced them to terminate the benefit, which Kelly says was gut-wrenching.
Small business owners like Kelly and Greg have been warning elected leaders for four straight decades about