Health Insurance in Indiana
Issue Overview: Access to affordable health care continues to be one of the biggest concerns for small businesses in Indiana. Of the 42 million people uninsured, more than 61 percent are either small-business owners or employees of small businesses. Double-digit premium increases continue, making health care one of the most expensive benefits for small-business owners to provide. One of the suggested remedies to high health-insurance premiums is to create policies that are free from some of the costly, state health-care mandates that small employers are required to cover. "Mandate light" policies include catastrophic coverage along with basic preventive care.
In addition to mandate light policies, allowing small businesses to pool together to form a larger buying group has also been suggested as a way to make health care more affordable and thus more available.
NFIB Position: In response to a 2005 NFIB/Indiana Member Ballot question, more than 70 percent of Hoosier small-business owners stated their support for mandate light health-insurance policies.
NFIB members also support allowing small businesses to pool together as a way to make health insurance more affordable and available.
Issue Status: During the 2007 legislative session, the Indiana General Assembly did pass legislation allowing small employers (2-50 employees) to join together and purchase group health insurance. However, before this can occur, the Indiana Department of Insurance and the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration must implement oversight rules to govern the program.
On the federal level, NFIB continues to work with United States Congress to seek additional free-market pooling options.
What to Do: As a small-business owner, it is still critical that you contact your state legislators and explain the challenges in offer health-care insurance. If possible, use specific numbers/percentages to illustrate the premium increases that you have faced in your efforts to continue providing health-care coverage for yourself and your employees. Alternatively, explain to legislators why you are unable to offer health-care insurance to your employees.
It is specifically important that small-business owners distinguish the difference between the small group market and the market in which big businesses and unions purchase their health care.