A recent survey released by the National Association for the Self-Employed showed that out of 4,000 companies with ten or less employees, only 18% are offering health insurance coverage, a drop from 46% in 2005.
Over 65% stated that the cost of health care insurance was the reason behind the company not offering coverage to employees. (more here)The reality of not having health insurance is quite scary. As parents we know what it would mean if our children weren’t covered. We also know the extreme expense of medical care in this country. Ironically, even if our insurance company is billed $5,000, they will only agree to pay about half of that, if not even less, which does go to show that someone is overcharging.
But back to not being covered by insurance. A scary recent story that got me really thinking about this issue. My best friend from high school called to catch up. It’s been a while since we’ve talked. Her ex-husband has worked as an independent contractor or as a worker for small companies for many years. He does not have insurance through his current job, and paying out of pocket for a plan would have cost so much that he never did. In essence, he took his chances and prayed that nothing too bad would happen.
Unfortunately, he has a growth in his throat that began the size of a small pebble and has grown so large that he can no longer speak clearly. I won’t go into the graphic details, but he is in a lot of pain. He has not been to see a specialist because, of course, he does not have insurance. He’s been to the emergency room a few times, been given antibiotics, but that hasn’t helped. He believes now that it is a tumor.
Fortunately for him, a local university offers a program that allows people to come in for health care from the students at a reduced or free rate of pay. So, he’s hoping to get into that hospital before long. However, the growth has more than tripled in size in just the past month or so.
The fact that he does not have insurance and therefore has not been in to have this checked infuriates me. He has worked his entire life. Yes, he should have taken care of this years ago. Yet as a small business owner I do understand the costs involved with purchasing insurance for myself. Thankfully my husband is covered and we receive good benefits from his job. It scares me to think of what could happen were we not covered through his job.
We need to pull together as small business owners and fight for better health care. I know this is an ongoing problem in our country-I just hope that it really takes precedence soon, and that everyone can find affordable coverage, whether they work for a large corporation or not.