The commonwealth fund logoA study from The Commonwealth Fund revealed that 49 percent of small-business employees were offered employer-sponsored health insurance, down from 58 percent in 2003. By contrast, larger employers (those with at least 100 employees) offer health insurance 90 percent of the time. Predictably, low-wage workers were least likely to be offered and eligible for health coverage. The survey found that only about 33 percent of workers with an hourly wage less than $15 in small firms were able to enroll in an employer-sponsored health plan. About 70 percent of small business workers earning over $15 per hour were able to enroll.

Report Co-author and Vice President of The Commonwealth Fund, Sara Collins, said the report “highlights a nearly decade-long trend of declining health insurance coverage and rising costs for workers in small businesses, particularly those who make less than $15 an hour. As a result, many people who work for small businesses can’t afford the health care they need or have medical bills they are unable to pay.”

Smaller firm workers reported having problems paying medical bills 45 percent of the time and 46 percent said that they were unable to receive medical care due to cost. These workers were also very likely to be dissatisfied with their coverage with 29 percent rating it either poor or fair. Small business employees were also found to have many fewer choices in health plan options compared to employees at larger firms.

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