Background Paper

Health Insurance Coverage for Small Employers
April 19, 2005


Dawn M. Gencarelli


For workers of small employers, access to affordable health insurance coverage is a growing concern. This paper examines the problems these firms and their employees face in obtaining health insurance coverage they can afford. The degree to which these challenges become obstacles varies greatly, depending on, for instance, the size of the employer and the characteristics of its employees. Reviewed here are these challenges to access, as well as some of the efforts made through state and federal reforms to address them, including rules regarding guaranteed issue and guaranteed renewability. This paper also explores some of the more recent initiatives designed to help small employers, including group purchasing arrangements (such as association health plans) and health savings accounts.

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