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Small Business and Health Care

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As a small business owner, I’m concerned about the growing costs of health care. This year our insurance went up 16%…nothing to sneeze at. We also upped our company contribution to 60% (from 50%), so I’m acutely aware of this cost on our bottom line.

A few weeks back, BusinessWeek ran an interesting story called Get Healthy–Or Else, about how Scotts, the lawn-care company, is tackling the high cost of health insurance. Some might argue their approach is forward thinking (one employee’s life was saved by being nagged to go to a physical) or invasive (another employee was let go for failing a drug test for…tobacco.)

In this week’s issue there was a two-page spread for feedback from readers called Wellness–Or Orwellness? Whether you agree or not with what Scotts is doing it makes for thought-provoking reading. Readers raise issues of privacy, fairness, and whether healthy people should be paying for obese people’s health care costs.

My .02? Companies should get out of the health care business. Employees often feel trapped in a job (not here at flyte!) because they’re afraid they’re going to lose health insurance. Some employers may subconsciously (or even consciously) hire younger, seemingly-healthier people to lower premiums. Health care costs are part of what’s crippling the American auto industry. (Lack of foresight, over-reliance on trucks and SUVs and bad management also factor in.)

By getting businesses out of health care and letting them focus on their core business would be a boon to companies and the people who work there. 

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