Study Portrays Small Business Health Picture

April 2, 2002 ( - Small businesses with at least 10 employees, that enjoy low personnel turnover, are more likely to offer health-care coverage.

As are those where employees make an average $2,200 monthly and where most workers have a college degree.

Those are the primary conclusions of a study of small-business health-care coverage patterns by The Kaiser Family Foundation.

The health-care coverage trends pinpointed by Kaiser include:

  • 72% of companies with 10 to 24 workers offer coverage, compared to 56% of firms with fewer than 10 employees,
  • 75% of firms with an average monthly wage of $2,200 offer coverage, compared to 48% with an average monthly wage of less than $2,200,
  • 63% of companies enjoying low attrition offer coverage, versus four in 10 companies with high turnover, and
  • Seven in 10 small firms offer one health plan option, compared to 25% who give employees more than one plan choice

Not surprisingly, 67% of small business owners were unhappy with the size of their health insurance bill. Nearly a third say they’ve moved their plan to a new provider in search of lower premiums.

If their health-care costs rise 10%, six in ten executives say they’ll absorb the added expense, while half say they will increase worker contributions.

Almost nine in 10 of small-business executives said the best way to expand health coverage is through tax credits. Slightly more than half say Medicare should be expanded to cover the uninsured and 40% said there should be a national health plan.

The Kaiser survey covered 805 owners of companies with three to 24 employees between May 17 and July 9, 2001.