Small Co's Say Don't Force Us into Health Coverage

December 4, 2006 ( - While most already offer health benefits, a majority of small companies that use outside staffing firms said in a recent survey they would oppose a government mandate to do so.

According to a news release from the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO) t he vast majority (95%) of the companies responding to its survey already offer health care plans. At the same time, according to the release, nearly two-thirds (64%) of the more than 720 respondents said state and local governments should not require employers to provide health benefits.

The 64% of respondents also said they did not plan to raise their workers’ health coverage costs in 2007.

Laws mandating health benefits were proposed in more than 40 states (See New Bay State Rules Would Excuse Most Cos. from Per-Worker Health Coverage Fee ) and in several municipalities (See San Francisco Restaurants Rally Against New City Health Plan ) this year and are expected to be debated again in 2007, the NAPEO said.

Other results of the survey included:

  • A majority of business owners blamed insurance companies (69%) and malpractice suits (71%) for rising health costs.Far fewer respondents blamed employees for over-using insurance benefits (33%) or medical providers (41%).
  • More than half (55%) said their employees are interested in wellness and prevention programs.
  • Most small business owners in the survey (91%) said salary is the most important attraction for recruiting talent, but seven in 10 said a health care plan is also very important.

The full report is here .