Survey: Public Supports Allowing Small Businesses to Offer Cost-Saving "Large Company" Health Plans
Despite political attacks, 77 percent of survey respondents say small businesses should be allowed to band together to offer lower-cost coverage
NASHVILLE, Tenn., Jan. 8, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- A survey released today by AssociationHealthPlans.com shows overwhelming public support for small companies collaborating together to offer "large company" health insurance plans to their employees. The findings are timely given a recent Department of Labor update to association health plan regulation that has made it easier for small businesses to band together to offer the same type of health insurance coverage offered by large companies. Large company health insurance leverages the buying power of many plan participants and is typically less expensive than small group and individually purchased health plans.
"The overwhelming public support – 77 percent – observed in the survey may come from a desire for fundamental fairness between small and large businesses," said health policy expert Kev Coleman, president and founder of AssociationHealthPlans.com. "Big companies have used 'large group' health plans to lower health insurance costs for decades. Why shouldn't smaller businesses have access to the same plans?"
As noted last fall by the National Conference for State Legislatures, small businesses pay on average 8 percent to 18 percent more than large companies for the same health insurance. Sole proprietors and the self-employed can pay even higher amounts than multi-employee businesses if they purchase individual health insurance without the benefit of a subsidy.
AssociationHealthPlans.com surveyed 1,119 adults nationwide to assess public opinion on the central objective behind the new regulation: allowing small businesses to pool their employees together in order to access the savings associated with a single, large company health insurance plan. The survey, performed by independent third-party polling technology from Jan. 2 - Jan. 4, 2019, asked "Should small businesses & sole-proprietors be allowed to band together to offer the same kind of lower-cost health insurance plans that large companies already offer?"
The survey found 77.6 percent of survey respondents answered "yes" in response to the question – more than three times higher than those that oppose the rule. (77.6 percent "yes" to 22.4 percent "no"). The margin of error across survey responses is estimated at +2.2%/-2.2%.
While public opposition to small businesses banding together to collaborate on large group health plans is limited (roughly one-in-five survey respondents across the nation disapproved), political opposition to the measure is more pronounced. Inasmuch as the new regulation was issued through the efforts of a Republican administration, it attracted criticism from a dozen Democratic attorneys general who filed a lawsuit seeking to invalidate the new regulation. However, the results of the survey found not only is there overwhelming support for small businesses offering large company health plans at the national level, but also the same level of support was observed in the states sponsoring the lawsuit. Ironically, the level of support among survey respondents in the states (and D.C.) filing the lawsuit was even higher than found at the national average (78.6 percent for the 11 states and D.C. versus 77.6 percent for the nation as a whole).
The full report as well as its methodology can be reviewed at "Survey: Overwhelming Public Support for Small Businesses to Offer Cost-Saving "Large Company" Health Plans."
Kev Coleman is founder and president of AssociationHealthPlans.com, the leading online resource supporting the emerging association health plans market. AssociationHealthPlans.com is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee.
CONTACT: Amy Fletcher Faircloth
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