Only Half of Workers in Small Businesses Are Offered, Eligible for Health Benefits

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<p>A new <a href="/publications/issue-briefs/2012/nov/jobs-without-benefits-health-insurance-crisis-faced-small">Commonwealth Fund study</a> highlights a nearly decade-long trend of declining health insurance coverage and rising costs for workers in small businesses, particularly employees making less than $15 an hour. </p><p>The report, released today, finds that in 2010 only 49 percent of workers in small businesses with fewer than 50 employees were offered and eligible for health insurance through their employer, down from 58 percent in 2003. In contrast, 90 percent of those working in firms with 100 or more employees were offered and eligible for coverage in both 2003 and 2010. Low-wage employees were the least likely to be offered and eligible for health benefits: just one-third of small-business workers making less than $15 were able to enroll in their company’s health plan. </p>
<p>Prior to passage of the Affordable Care Act, workers in small firms also disproportionately struggled paying medical bills, and many skipped needed care because of the cost. The health reform law should mitigate this trend, the researchers say, by improving the affordability and comprehensiveness of health insurance, both for small-business owners who want to offer health benefits and for those workers who can’t get coverage through their jobs. Visit <a href="/publications/issue-briefs/2012/nov/jobs-without-benefits-health-insurance-crisis-faced-small"></a> to learn more. </p>