There has been a recent increase in group health insurance plans offered by small business owners. This is due in part from the introduction of federal tax credit enticement from last year’s health care reform.
In the fourth quarter of 2010, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Inc. saw a five to six percent increase in group health insurance and this trend is continuing in 2011. BCBS senior director of external communication, John Herbkersman, agrees that there is quite a bit of interest in coverage options from small businesses. These increases are occurring in other insurance companies as well. Some have added between 75,000 and 115,000 new small business clients since the law was signed last March.
According to Herbkersman, small businesses began offering health care insurance to their employees because of the credit they will receive from the health care reform act and BCBS offering more competitive rates. He feels that the increase in business is a combination of their competitive rates and the tax credits the small businesses will receive. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida has been notifying new and old clients of the new benefits since last May, when the reform regulations were finalized.
Additionally, there is a trend among small businesses in adding gap, or supplemental health, insurance options for their employees. This is beneficial to many employees because it increases the options available to employees, so they can get the coverage that they need for themselves and their families. Gap insurance is another way that small businesses are helping keep costs down, both for themselves and for their employees.