Small companies begin terminating health care benefits in Massachusetts

As many expected, some businesses in Massachusetts actually have accountants – or maybe just calculators – and have figured out it will be less expensive and more stable for their business plans to drop health care benefits for employees and pay the fine.

From the Boston Globe, with a hat tip to Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. Is what we now have at the federal level based on the Massachusetts plan?

Since April 1, the date many insurance contracts are renewed for small businesses, the owners of about 90 small companies terminated their insurance plans with Braintree-based broker Jeff Rich and indicated in a follow-up survey that they were relying on publicly-funded insurance for their employees.

In Sandwich, business consultant Bill Fields said he has been hired by small businesses to enroll about 400 workers in state-subsidized care since April, because the company owners said they could no longer afford to provide coverage. Fields said that is by far the largest number he has handled in such a short time.

“They are giving up out of frustration,’’ Fields said of the employers. “Most of them are very compassionate but they simply can’t afford health insurance any more.’’

This is not expected, and quite honestly, this is exactly what the current administration and Democrats in Congress are expecting will happen. They are perfectly fine with setting up the rules in such a way the final play of the game will be full-blown single-payer health care in the United States … with no option available for private insurance.

Morrissey notes…

Employers face a fine of less than $300 per employee not covered by health insurance.  They have to pay thousands per employee every year for the insurance. In this economy, which option will look best — especially when a company’s competitors dump coverage to keep prices low?  Anyone who has run a business can answer that question easily.

18 replies
  1. Dimsdale
    Dimsdale says:

    Just as we have Øbama Jr. in "Coupe" Deval Patrick, we have Øbamacare Jr. in our health care policies.  You should hear my liberal colleagues whining about recent 30+% increases in their premiums and copays.  It would be funny if it weren't so tragic.


    This, and Øbamacare is as insidious as it is clever.  They mandate absolute coverage from the insurance companies.  The companies do so.  Prices go up.  Companies can't afford the rates.  They downgrade to the public option and pay the fine, which feeds the public beast.  Of course, there is no guarantee that the penalties won't skyrocket once the private options are gone, but then it is too late.


    Dimsdale's Law: you can have health care universal, inexpensive or good.  Pick any two.

  2. sammy22
    sammy22 says:

    If the employers "simply can’t afford health insurance any more",  it seems to me that they would drop health insurance for their employees whether there was any public funding or not. They would rather pay the fine than take the deduction.

    • Dimsdale
      Dimsdale says:

      "Simply can't afford" relative to the penalties.  Øbamacare looks cheaper for now.  If the feds really wanted private insurance to continue, they would make the penalties severe.

  3. Tim-in-Alabama
    Tim-in-Alabama says:

    Obamacare is designed to force businesses to drop health insurance for their employees. It's already driving up costs, and it will further drive up costs for those companies that try to continue offering coverage by forcing them to adopt plans that cover everything for everybody. The more attractive alternative will be for companies is to say "to hell with it" and drop employees into a government plan since the "penalties" make it cheaper and easier to do that. Then Obama can say, "See. These greedy companies won't provide you healthcare so the government has to." Then he'll go play golf.

  4. winnie888
    winnie888 says:

    bwahahaha Tim!

    I've seen it coming and coming and coming…for them to lie and deny doesn't change the FACTS…

    Jim, SOS & Steve have been on top of this since the beginning…and for that I thank them for the hard work and insanity that must go along with trying to shine a light on the subject…People out there who think "at least Obama's doing something about this" really need to wake up and read the writing on the wall…THIS wall.

    Just counting the days til I no longer have insurance or a doctor…this is gonna be fun stuff, folks!

  5. David R
    David R says:

    Let me start out by saying this is not about Obama. He may be in bed with the corporations like most politicians, but it is still hard to tell.  What I did find out was that healthcare costs in the US had risen from $714 billion in 1990 to $2.3 trillion in 2008. What has driven the increase, according to are 1. technology and prescription drugs, 2. chronic disease, 3. our aging population and 4. administrative costs. The US spending is 16.2% of the GDP compared to 10% for Canada. And per-capita spending here is about twice what it is for our frozen neighbor to the north. The WHO ranked us 37 of all their member countries in overall health care system efficiency. Canada was ranked 30th. France ranks at the top. (When I visited a doctor in France last year, I found the set up remarkably similar to CT in the 1950s–no big billing department, no bloated staff, no assembly line care) Now with the economy still in the tank is it any surprise that employers can't afford insurance for the highest costing healthcare on the planet?

    • Dimsdale
      Dimsdale says:

      "The US spending is 16.2% of the GDP compared to 10% for Canada."


      Now factor in actual access to timely care.  Would you pay a little more to get the care you need when you need it, or wait interminably in a line?


      The WHO stopped doing these comparisons in 2000, due to the complexity.  Comparing countries with no accounting for the different populations is almost pointless.  For example, how does the influx of illegal aliens affect our rating, when they bring whooping cough, small pox, dengue fever, tuberculosis etc., into the country, all disease that were effectively eradicated?   Can you compare that to Canada's relatively homogenous population and less porous southern border?  The parameters of life expectancy, preventable deaths etc., are all inextricably linked in part to the uncontrolled influx of illegal aliens.


      The real problem with costs?  Linking health care to the employer.  The employee doesn't see it, much like the exorbitant amount that the government extracts from us in taxes.  Their income is reduced by the amount it costs the company to buy coverage.  If the employee was simply required to buy their own insurance with an appropriate increase in their salaries, they would exercise due diligence, shop around, compare and buy what is most economically feasible for them, with appropriate deductibles.  In this case, the employee/patient would only use medical services when necessary versus whenever they feel like it.  Costs would automatically be cut.  Administrative costs would be minimized, probably one of the biggest money pits around.  Standardized forms would help too.


      These are the kinds of reforms that government should have been making rather than jamming the whole thing into the crusher.  Maybe they could even have taken the time to learn from other's mistakes, but they are too busy making their own, and reinventing the square wheel.

      • David R
        David R says:

        Dims: an interesting idea about requiring employees to buy healtcare insurance. Would it be a legal requirement? How would it be enforced? How would minimum and low wage earners be able to buy health insurance? How about people who work a couple of part time jobs?  Along those lines, I'd like to see if inducements from insurance companies to buy generic as opposed to brand-name drugs would help lower costs. Re. your objections to the current health care bill: the old saying goes about making laws is like making sausages. It's a messy process that includes the messy bits. This bill like many others will get fixed as time goes on, impeded by the corporate interests that want to maintain or increase their advantages.

  6. PatRiot
    PatRiot says:

    Hey  Dave R – the universal health care costs will be buried in the value added taxes / charges/ fees of every item you purchase.  Call an Australian to confirm this.

    That's why we are 37th on the list – because ours is a more true cost than almost anywhere else.  And to the WHO, world bank, UN, etc.  the US is the last big target to get on board with socialist medical, gun control, etc..  We can't have anyone out of goose step now can we.  The smaller non-socialist countries will follow if the US falls prey to this.

    Can we do better on price and service – yep.  But don't throw out a car that needs 2 wheels anda tune up for a system that is proven to be worse.

    • PatRiot
      PatRiot says:

      P.S.   We know this Is called Obamacare because he is the guy in the big chair.  Like Bush took the heat for the failings of ALL of Congress.

      We know this healthcare plan is unconstitutional.  And if the Republicans were truely upholding thier oaths and working for the American people, they would have laid claims of unconstitutionality already and SHOULD HAVE charged a fellow Congressman with treason.  Hence they are complicit.

      We have all been duped by our parties.

  7. JollyRoger
    JollyRoger says:

    And meanwhile, on the planet in which Ariana Huffington resides:  The Big Story @… Prominent conservative media critic Dan Gainor has offered $100 to the first member of Congress who punches "smary [sic] idiot" Alan Grayson (D-Fl.) in the nose!    As if there wasn't Congressman Bob Etheridge who actually did assault a college student while Mika Brzezinski opined that the kid probably had it coming!?  As if black panthers didn't walk after intimidating voters- and encourage the killing of white babies!?  As if Sen Lindsey Graham didn't just say that Elena, Partial Birth Abortion, Kagan was "a person of good character"!?  Well, I offer $150 to the first member of Congress who punches either Lindsey Graham, Bob Etheridge, Mika Brzezinski, or a black panther party member in the nose.  And I personally invite Joe Courtney (my own Congressman), Alan Grayson, Lindsey Graham, Bob Etheridge, Mika Brzezinski, and one unarmed black panther party member to a six on one cage match- Call me a "Tea Party Panther!!!"  Tax their unborn children (abortions)- as if they don't want this, and everything else, at your cost!

  8. sammy22
    sammy22 says:

    According to the Courant (OMG), 3 out of 4 small businesses in CT will be eligible for a tax credit to reduce the amount they pay for health insurance. Is that bad? Meanwhile UnitedHealth Care posted much higher than expected 2Q profits. Is that good? And no matter how you spin it, the US spends more per capita on health care than the rest of the industrialized countries ( and not as good care).

    • Jim Vicevich
      Jim Vicevich says:

      And where does the money come from to pay the credit Sammy? And what happens when the government runs out of that money? And what if the credit still does not make the insurance affordable? And who foots the bill at the large companies for the more expensive plan? And can I cut your pay Sammy to pay for the higher cost government plan? And, oh never mind.

      • David R
        David R says:

        Great question: where does the money come from now to pay the $2.3 trillion annual tab? Somebody is getting hosed.

  9. brianh
    brianh says:

    David R…Most of the $2.3T is borrowed from China et al, since we spent all the payroll deductions for the Medicare "trust fund", deficit spend for Medicaid, et al. Employers pay the next biggest chunk.

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