Members Speak Out on Losing Health Coverage

Date: November 25, 2013

For Fairbanks small-business owner Mark Knapp, the more than doubling of his health insurance premiums has put him in an unenviable position for the first time in his life.

“We have always been hard working productive members of society, at times employing up to five people,” he wrote in a letter to Sen. Mark Begich, a reproduction of which can be read here. “It was never our intent to become a burden on society. This program [Obamacare] is forcing us to face the prospect of receiving assistance from other hard working Americans, a very uncomfortable position for us. For the first time in our adult lives, we are going to let our policy be cancelled and try to get by without coverage.”

For Juneau small-business owner Steve Allwine, he may have no choice but to stop health coverage for his employees. In a report in The Wall Street Journal, he explains why. “ … starting in 2015, employers with more than 50 full-time equivalent workers will be required to offer health benefits that comply with the law or face a penalty. ‘I’m going to have to weigh which is cheaper,’ says Steve Allwine, president and part owner of Mendenhall Auto Center, an auto dealership with 55 employees in Juneau, Alaska.

“He just signed the company up for a new health plan effective Jan. 1 that he says satisfies the law’s requirements, but costs 30% more than the plan last year. As a result, the company, which covers about 90% of premiums for its staff, will need to pay $1,050 a month per employee instead of $800, as it had previously.

“Mr. Allwine says the company’s old plan was canceled and its insurance provider, Premera Blue Cross, didn’t offer the option to renew early, despite President Barack Obama’s announcement last week that insurers can extend old policies for one more year.

“ … For Mr. Allwine, doing away with health benefits, even if the penalty is less expensive, would create a moral dilemma. ‘I don’t want to do this at all,’ he says. ‘It wouldn’t be in my employees’ best interest, but I may have no choice.’ “

There’s more bad news to come. Unless Congress acts to relieve the health insurance tax on insurers and the insured, premiums will never stop rising. That’s why NFIB is part of the Stop the HIT Coalition, which you can learn more about by clicking its logo above.

Have an Obamacare Story of Your Own?

Sharing it will make a difference. The new healthcare law is proving to be as bad—or worse—than we feared. It is more important than ever that members of Congress and the president hear about its devastating impact from you. NFIB has set up a special webpage for you to share your story. Please take a moment to answer a few questions, and we’ll make sure your voice gets heard.

Related Content: Small Business News | Alaska

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