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Increasing number of small business owners nixing health benefits

Posted On Wed, January 30, 2013

It's likely that a substantial amount of Americans spend their time reviewing health insurance rates independently, as many of them work for companies that don't provide them with benefits.

Recent polling data from consulting and professional development organization LIMRA reveals that less than half - 47 percent - of small business owners provide their workers with health benefits. That's the lowest level recorded in the two decades in which this type of data has been monitored.

Kim Landry, research analyst at LIMRA, indicated that small business owners - which are typically defined as companies that employ between two and 99 workers - are still feeling the fallout of the economic downturn.

"The recession has had an impact on smaller employers' ability to offer benefits, particularly those with fewer than 10 employees," said Landry. "The weak economy caused a lot of small firms to close, while the new firms cropping up to replace them are less likely to offer benefits."

In January 2014, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will go into full effect. It's at this time that there could be a sizeable shift in the number of business owners that make health insurance options available. The PPACA mandates that business owners with 50 employees or more must provide an affordable health insurance option, or risk being fined for each worker.

Supporters of the health reform law say that they anticipate health insurance rates lowering as a result of a greater number of options; opponents believe even fewer employers will make health insurance available because the costs will be too exorbitant.

Among those companies that do make health insurance options available, they typically are prescription and medical-based. However, other benefits routinely offered include dental, life, vision and long-term disability, LIMRA reports.

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