Issue: Health Care

8 Reasons Why Small Businesses Will Benefit from the Patient's Bill of Rights

1. Small businesses will be better able to compare plans.
When selecting a health plan, many employers - particularly small employers, who usually don't have human resources departments - often don't even know or understand exactly what they are purchasing. By requiring public disclosure of a health plan's benefits, grievance procedures, and financial arrangements with providers, small businesses can make more informed decisions about which plan to purchase, and will better be able to evaluate how that plan performs.

2. Better quality health care won't make costs sky rocket for small businesses.
Studies show that increasing quality standards may raise rates only slightly, and that consumers and small businesses are willing to pay more if this leads to better care. Insurance industry claims of massive rate increases and a huge drop off in employer-sponsored coverage are grossly inflated.

3. It will level the playing field for small businesses and their workers.
Large employers have the purchasing power to negotiate not just better rates, but also terms for better quality of care. By requiring every plan to adopt the same minimum standards, all employers and employees - at both big and small businesses - will be playing under the same rules and be afforded a more equitable level of service.

4. It will reduce the risk and complexity of buying health insurance.
A national standard for consumer protection will give small businesses the assurance that whatever plan they buy will provide at least a basic level of responsible coverage.

5. Business owners won't need to intervene in battles between employees and their health plan.
Frustrated employees who are unable to settle disputes with their health plans often ask their employers to get involved. Small business owners often don't have the time or expertise to properly deal with these situations. With a new independent appeals process, employees will have other and better places to turn to resolve their disputes.

6. It will lead to healthier and more productive workers.
Since employees and their families will better be able to get the care they need and deserve, they should be sick less often and absent less frequently. Additionally, with increased consumer protections, workers can spend more time focused on their jobs, rather than battling with their health plans or fearing they or their families won't be able to see the proper doctor when needed.

7. The insurance industry will be held accountable, just like any other business.
The Patient's Bill of Rights will make health plans - just like doctors, nurses, and everyone else in the health care system - accountable for the decisions they make. Businesses are accountable to their customers, employees and vendors, and it is only reasonable that health plans be held to the same standard. This should lead to better health care as insurance companies will be required to provide proper and necessary treatment or be held legally responsibility.

8. Small business owners are consumers, too.
Most small business owners and their families belong to the same health plan as their employees. Therefore, they want to see a better system as much as any other consumer. In fact, a national poll by the Kaiser-Harvard Program and ASBA Education Fund showed small business owners mirror the general public with their overwhelming support of health care consumer protection legislation.

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