I am a small business owner in Milwaukee for the past 26 years. There are four employees in our health insurance plan with a total of nine covered lives – seven adults and two children.
We just got our health insurance renewal notice from our large insurance company, a large, national profit-making company. It is a 35.4-percent increase in premiums.
Here are the facts:
- HSA health insurance plan – seven adults; two children in the plan; $1,500 individual deductible; $3,000 family deductible.
- 2009/10 (current premium): $7,234.89 per month = $86,818.68 per year.
- 2010/11 (new premium): $9,799.96 per month = $117,599.52 per year.
- A 35.4-percent.increase. That’s $29,399 per year per employee.
The increase for 2008/09 was 19.4 percent. The 2007/08 increase was 12.8 percent. With this new increase, that’s a 67.6-percent increase in three years.
In our business, we are lucky to be able to raise our prices 2 to 4 percent per year. We have not had any significant claims in the past three years. As the owner, I have even asked the insurance company for our “loss ratio” or “claims information.” But of course, they will not give me this information. Then I would have an idea of how much money they are making on our account.
My conclusion: We are being robbed by the large insurance company. So are many small businesses, nonprofits and self-employed people throughout this state. We are being robbed because we as small businesses have no power to fight back, to protect ourselves.
We can and must change this. I am a member of Common Ground (www.commongroundwi.org). We are supporting the formation of a health insurance cooperative for small businesses, nonprofits, the self-employed and unions. Join us! We must stop the robbery!
Bob Connolly is the co-owner of The James Company in Milwaukee.