Federal fix needed for small business health insurance

To the editor:

I read in Business NH magazine that there are 108,506 one-person companies in New Hampshire as of 2007. I am one of these companies and qualify for small business health insurance.

I have been rejected for individual health insurance because of a pre-existing condition. Anthem gave me an insurance quote last April for my wife and me — it was $1,771 a month. Now, the NH HealthFirst Plan is available, and Anthem’s quote is $1,824 a month. The new NH HealthFirst Plan is no savings for me. The plan does have some incentives, but the monthly premiums are higher. Thankfully, MVP Health Care offers lower rates for groups.

There is no affordable health insurance for New Hampshire one-person companies. It was only in 2006, when SB 125 became law, that health condition and geographic location were eliminated as risk factors affecting insurance rates. The biggest burden now is age. The older you are, the higher your small business insurance premium. This especially hurts anyone in the five-year ages of 45, 50, 55 and 60.

New Hampshire does not seem able or willing to create solutions to help small business save money with health insurance. Small business groups are prohibited from joining associations or regional groups to get better rates by increasing their bargaining numbers.

The only solution may be some variation of the Obama health plan that is in the works. We need the federal government to act where New Hampshire cannot act. The need for lower insurance rates is great, and New Hampshire does not have a solution for the over 108,500 one-person small businesses in the state.

Steven Maimes
SALAM Research

Categories: Cook on Concord