Last year, Virginia trailed only Arkansas and Idaho in the amount required to be paid by employer-sponsored family health insurance plans. A a new Commonwealth Institute study finds that these costs lead to more families without insurance and a less healthy workforce.
The findings reveal that Virginia reached its lowest amount of employer-provided coverage in nearly two decades —with only 40% of businesses with 50 or fewer employees offering benefits. More than a millionVirginians are now uninsured and most are mid-to-lower wage earners. The Institute’s Michael Cassidy says that while small businesses face many challenges, they have opportunities to mitigate the costs of insurance—such as new federal tax credits. He adds that states are also setting up new marketplaces for individuals and businesses.
“These new marketplaces called Health Insurance Exchanges will be a key place where they’ll be able to go to buy health insurance. Subsidies will be available on a sliding scale for folks to afford the premium. They’ll be able to pool their risks in bigger pools than just their own particular employees which will allow them top get better rates,” says Cassidy.
But Cassidy says the state needs to plan now for this marketplace—and since the insured pay more as a result of uncompensated care, everyone benefits from cost-effective ways to insure all.