Small businesses scrapping, scaling back health care

Wednesday, November 18, 2009 | 10:03 a.m. CST

JEFFERSON CITY — Small businesses across the country are dropping or scaling back employee health care plans because of the rising cost of insurance.

The health insurance crunch has hit small businesses particularly hard because they lack the leverage of their bigger counterparts to negotiate with insurers. So when rates rise, they often respond by asking employees to make higher co-payments, raising deductibles, switching to less generous benefits or simply dropping coverage.

Insurers are requesting small group rate hikes of 10 to 15 percent in Ohio.

In recent weeks, small business owners have pleaded their case to the White House and Congress. Top Democrats in the House and Senate have said they're looking into how health insurers price policies for small businesses.


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