Small businesses create a majority of new jobs in the country and make significant contributions to the nation’s economic viability. With more than 26 million small businesses currently operating in the United States, this sector increasingly contributes to the gross national product, personal income and total employment figures. Rising health care costs affect a small business’ ability to offer health insurance and survive in a competitive market. For that reason, and because of the importance of small businesses to the economy, many states have taken action to help such entities with the affordability of health insurance.
With more than 42 million individuals working for small businesses, states have an opportunity to affect the health of a large segment of the population by assisting small businesses with obtaining coverage and preventing costly chronic conditions. Governors have launched initiatives that assist small businesses with purchasing health insurance through subsidies, tax incentives and partnerships. In other initiatives, governors have spearheaded negotiations with insurance carriers to offer lower coverage rates in return for employees’ living healthier lifestyles.