Small Business Groups Sound the Alarm on Rising Health Insurance Premiums

Date: November 07, 2014

Small Business Groups Sound the Alarm on Rising Health Insurance Premiums

Small Business
Groups Sound the Alarm on Rising Health Insurance Premiums

Study raises
serious concerns about the fate of community hospitals and higher costs for
small businesses under health care reform

Boston,
MA, November 6, 2014 –
The Massachusetts Chapter of the National Federation
of Independent Business (NFIB) and the Retailers Association of Massachusetts
(RAM) today released a report examining the impact that the Massachusetts
health care reform has had on both small businesses and community
hospitals. 

In
2006, Massachusetts implemented what became a model for national health care
reform, with passage of a law that focused on access to health insurance and
health care.  Since the passage of that law, known as Chapter 58, NFIB and
RAM have publicly voiced concerns over the lack of attention paid to the
continued increases in small business health insurance premiums.  The two
groups have also expressed concern over the pressures on community hospitals –
provide affordable care – the hospitals of choice for many of their small
business members and their employees – and the fate of those hospitals under
health care reform.

“For
years we have been raising concerns about the annual double digit growth in
small business health insurance premiums,” said Jon Hurst, RAM President. 
“Now our members are worried about the fate of their community hospitals as
well.  It has been well documented that community hospitals are paid
dramatically less than higher priced hospitals and frankly, that is going to
lead to higher costs for everyone.”

“It’s
one thing to have to worry about being able to afford health insurance and
health care costs,” said Bill Vernon, State Director of NFIB.  “Now, this
analysis shows we have to start worrying about our community hospitals as
well.  Small employers can’t just tell all of their employees to go into
Boston.  Health insurance needs to be affordable, but we also have to
preserve access in the communities under the right incentives.”

The
report studied the period from 2005 through 2013 and found that Safety Net
Hospitals as a group (teaching and community) fared worse post-reform compared
to pre-reform and compared to Non Safety Net Hospitals for most outcomes
studied. Post reform, there was a significant negative impact on community
hospitals overall. Community Safety Net Hospitals, on average, experienced
lower inpatient and outpatient utilization post reform compared to the
pre-reform period and the revenue community Safety Net Hospitals received both
for inpatient utilization and outpatient visits also lagged further behind the
teaching cohorts post reform compared to the pre-reform period. There was a
large amount of variability among community hospitals regarding performance,
especially post reform.  This means that some community hospitals are
doing significantly worse post health care reform than the averages might
suggest.

# # # 

The
National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) is a non-profit,
non-partisan advocacy organization for our state’s and our nation’s small
businesses.

The
Retailers Association of Massachusetts (RAM) is a statewide trade association
organized in 1918, representing over 3500 retail and restaurant sector
employers.  

 

Contacts:
        Bill
Vernon: (617) 482-1327 

Jon Hurst: 
(617) 523-1900                   

Author of the report, Amy Lischko: (617) 636-0476

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