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Some business owners not fans of health exchanges

Posted March 22, 2010

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— Some small-business owners expressed concern Monday about the health care exchanges that will be created by the health reform legislation passed late Sunday by the U.S. House.

The exchanges are state-based entities that will allow small businesses and the uninsured to pool their resources and needs to increase their bargaining power with insurance companies as they bid for better prices on health coverage.

Small businesses unsure about health reform impact Businesses unsure about health reform impact

Forty-three percent of North Carolina companies with fewer than 50 employees provide health coverage, compared with 97 percent of larger firms, according to a 2007 study by Kaiser Family Foundation. Similar disparities exist nationwide, and small-business owners and employees account for 58 percent of the 45 million uninsured Americans, the Employee Benefit Research Institute estimates.

Patty Briguglio, owner of MMI Public Relations, said she supports reforming the nation's health care system, but she doesn't like the plan President Barack Obama is expected to sign into law this week.

"Nobody understands what's going to happen. That's the real problem. Me and small businesses, we're afraid," said Briguglio, who offers health insurance to her 18 full-time employees.

"What's frightening is, yeah, maybe the exchange will be great, but there are so many unintended consequences from legislation," she said.

One of those unintended consequences upsets Mike Longmire, president of Risk Management Associates in Raleigh, which specializes in security consulting and private investigations.

RMA provides health coverage for its 20 employees, and Longmire is concerned the government is unfairly leveling the playing field by offering incentives and opportunities for other companies to provide health coverage.

"(Health coverage) sometimes gives us a competitive edge over a company that provides little or none," he said. "Whatever this legislation is, it's just very difficult to understand."

Andrea Baker has two small businesses, Johnson Paschal Floral and Edge Cheer & Dance, but she doesn't provide health coverage to her employees.

"It's absolutely been cost prohibitive up to this point," Baker said. "Of course, we'd like to expand our benefits package, but we don't know if this legislation will help with that."

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  • superman Mar 23, 2010

    I wish they would add dental insurance, insurance that covers hearing impaired, flood insurance, rain insurance, dead car battery insurance, pet insurance and all the rest of the things that work together to take our money and best of all-- do away with taxes for those of us that seem to find a need to work for a living.

  • hardwork919 Mar 23, 2010

    "Too many unknowns - that's why small business owners are scared & either holding steady or scaling back (as I chose to). Pitiful our own electeds are unable/unwilling to elaborate on this legislation with their citizenry (could it be because they do not know either perhaps? not on that inner circle of cognescenti?)" oldschooltarheel

    LOL the facts are there so it's their own faults for not researching it. Small business will be fine and will most likely do better under this bill.

  • oldschooltarheel Mar 23, 2010

    Too many unknowns - that's why small business owners are scared & either holding steady or scaling back (as I chose to). Pitiful our own electeds are unable/unwilling to elaborate on this legislation with their citizenry (could it be because they do not know either perhaps? not on that inner circle of cognescenti?)

  • AnotherIgnoredComment Mar 23, 2010

    What I find interesting in the bill is there is no minimum coverage stated. So technically (at this time), a business could give their employees the option to buy a $2500 deductable plan w/ no assistance until the deductable is met. Since you cannot buy from the pool of providers unless your company does not offer insurance or the cost is too high, those working for these companies would not be able to choose from the pool to get better insurance.

  • hardwork919 Mar 23, 2010

    "If you don't know what the bill means to you, then quit complaining until you can articulate it. Are you kidding? You must be hard core obama fan. We have stopped all hiring because of this bill. Not only that, but my wife will be loosing her job because the company would rather pay for 25 full time employees with health care than pay for 60 part timers health care. Get off the koolaid!" miketroll3572
    I'm sorry to hear that but what does that have to do with his comment? He was simply talking about the business owners who seem to have no idea what is happening but are still scared. Relax.

    "Part of the reason anyone should be concerned about this Gov't Healthcare is that so much of it hasn't even been WRITTEN yet. Even Pelosi admitted that much in a recent interview when she was asked a direct question. She responded with "we'll see when it's finished" (I can't remember exactly the word she used). Does anyone truly know what the impact will be? Has anyone been given the full bill to r

  • lizard78 Mar 23, 2010

    My Health Savings Accounts does disappear at the end of the year.

  • whatelseisnew Mar 23, 2010

    "It's absolutely been cost prohibitive up to this point," Baker said. "Of course, we'd like to expand our benefits package, but we don't know if this legislation will help with that."

    NO this legislation will not do anything but make costs go higher. At best, it might take money from someone and use it to pay for her employees health insurance. This bill just like the other huge Social Programs is going to do enormous damage. For whatever reason, too many people and too many members of Congress do not understand that the U.S.A. is a debtor nation. We have no money.

  • whatusay Mar 23, 2010

    I hate socialism. I hate it when government takes from the workers and gives it to the "MOOCHERS", for votes.

  • Finz Up Mar 23, 2010

    ConcernedNCC

    If this bill saves your relative but puts people out of business is all Ok in your world? I understand where you come from but this bill doesn't stop people from getting or dying from cancer and it is going to cost your relative a bundle. All the bill does is bar an insurance company from denying him or her coverage. Your realtive still faces an enormous cost becasue of the high risk involved.

  • -Enter Screen Name- Mar 23, 2010

    elyhim2: no other ideas than a bigger health savings account, (great an account I lose every year if I don't spend it.

    You're wrong. Health Savings Accounts do NOT disappear at the end of the year. You get to keep the proceeds year to year.

    I'd definitely welcome a bigger Health Savings Account allowance. I've had one for a few years, and have banked around $8k. Just wish I could save more per year. It's nice to have that "rainy day fund" sitting there in case something major happens.

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