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Cutting Back But Not Cutting Out: Small Employers Respond to Premium Increases

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Publication Date: October 2002

Publisher(s): Center for Studying Health System Change

Author(s): Ashley C. Short; Cara S. Lesser

Series: Issue Brief No. 56

Topic: Health (Health care financing)

Type: Brief


Rising premiums and a weak economy are generating questions about the potential erosion of health insurance coverage, particularly for the more than 46 million Americans who work for small firms. People working in small firms typically have less access to coverage than those in large firms. In 2000 and early 2001, the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC) conducted its third round of site visits to 12 nationally representative metropolitan areas and found that while few small employers actually dropped coverage, many increased the employee share of premiums, raised copayments and deductibles, switched products and carriers and/or reduced benefits. With the U.S. economy now in rougher shape, small employers may pare back coverage even more, putting affordable health care further out of the reach of workers and their families.