Workers at small companies less likely to be covered

Small businesses might be the engine of the economy, as some have argued, but they don’t appear to be the best means through which someone can obtain health care coverage, according to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Small companies are not only less likely to offer coverage but, when they do offer it, their workers are more likely to pay a higher share of their premiums, as well as more out of pocket than workers in large companies.

Of course, workers can refuse coverage even if it’s offered. Also, some may not be eligible because of company guidelines. While the uptake rate at small and large companies is the same, about 60 percent, a smaller percentage of workers is covered in the small plans because fewer are offered coverage. Overall, 47 percent of workers at small businesses and 62 percent at large businesses are covered.

In addition, the size of the company influences the sort of benefits chosen. Workers in small companies are more likely to enroll in a high-deductible health plan with a savings option such as a health reimbursement arrangement or health savings account.

Source: “Snapshots: Health Care Costs,” Kaiser Family Foundation, December 2012

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