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Survey: Majority of small business owners want to decrease their current health care premiums

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The majority of small business owners responding to a new survey by the National Association for the Self-Employed ranked “decreasing monthly premiums” as the major thing they would change about their current health care plan.

The survey by NASE, a national advocate for the self-employed and micro-businesses, found that 66 percent rate the cost of health coverage as a major concern.

Open enrollment ends Feb. 15 in the online Affordable Care Act marketplace HealthCare.gov, where individuals and families, including the self-employed and owners of small businesses, are purchasing health plans. For those of low and moderate income, there are federal subsidies at HealthCare.gov that reduce the cost of coverage.

The survey was conducted Oct. 27, 2014 through Jan. 19, 2015 to gauge the opinions of small business owners and self-employed entrepreneurs nationwide on the issue of health care.

In addition to the overwhelming majority of respondents citing the monthly premium costs as a major concern, 53 percent said they had either “low” or “very low” confidence they will be able to obtain both affordable and comprehensive health care coverage in 2015.

“Affordability of health care coverage continues to be a major concern of small business owners across the country,” said Katie Vlietstra, vice president for government relations and Public Affairs for NASE.  “Greater than 23 percent of those we surveyed are budgeting to spend more than $10,000 on health care expenses alone this coming year. That level of spending on health care costs hurts the bottom lines of America’s smallest businesses and it impedes their ability to save, grow and create new jobs. The small business community is the engine of our nation’s economy and the cost of health care coverage continues to clog the fuel line.”

NASE noted that the Affordable Care Act provides subsidies to help offset or defray costs for some low-income Americans.  However, more than 80 percent of the survey’s respondents said that they did not qualify for these tax subsidies and therefore would not be eligible for any assistance.

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