Are you putting your own health—and your business’s health—at risk? A recent study by Cigna, My Business, My Health, found that one-fourth of America’s 42 million self-employed small business owners don’t have health insurance. The primary reason (cited by 82 percent of those uninsured entrepreneurs) is that it’s too expensive.
Small business owners without insurance admit that they’re prioritizing their business over their personal welfare and health (60 percent of uninsured respondents). But they’re also well aware that by going without insurance, they could be putting their businesses at risk. Sixty percent of uninsured business owners say they worry about the financial impact on themselves and their companies if they got injured or seriously ill.
And that financial impact could be huge. More than one-third of self-employed business owners in the study said just one month away from the business due to a personal illness or other health problem would either cause them to lose customers, or put them out of business entirely. In reality, this number could be even higher, because one-third of the business owners underestimated how much common medical expenses could cost an uninsured person. For example, something as simple as a broken arm could cost $6,000 or more without insurance coverage.
The really sad thing about this study is that business owners greatly overestimated how much health insurance costs. More than four out of five thought that insurance was more expensive than it actually is. In addition, the majority (60 percent) of uninsured small business owners admit they aren’t proactive with their health—they don’t get preventive care, but only go to the doctor when something is wrong (and in many cases, not even then).
What about the Affordable Care Act, which, starting in January 2014, will require all Americans to buy health insurance? According to the poll, 62 percent of all respondents expect the ACA to affect them. Of those, 37 percent believe it will make insurance more expensive and 25 percent think it will make coverage less expensive.
Since the details of health insurance exchanges are still being ironed out and will vary depend on your state, it remains to be seen which small business owners’ predictions are correct. But one thing’s for sure: Going without insurance can cost you a lot more than your health—it could ultimately cost you your business.