Last week, I read an article about health care reform and women entrepreneurs online. It sparked a great conversation in the article's comments. The crux of the discussion was the expense of health care and the affect/impact it has on women entrepreneurs. With health care costs skyrocketing, not surprisingly, the article stated that many women founders are tapping insurance coverage from their husbands versus purchasing policies on their own. It's not just women entrepreneurs and small business owners that are citing concern about the lack of affordable access to health care and insurance coverage. Many male entrepreneurs and business owners are saying the exact same thing.
"It's the pharmaceutical companies and policy," said one female founder who asked to be anonymous. "I can barely make ends meet as it is in the recession market. Right now, I can't carry any insurance." When asked how she feels about being vulnerable to a health care crisis in the event of an illness or injury, her response was deadpan. "You just hope and pray."
With more than 46 million Americans without health insurance, today's modern women entrepreneurs and executives are without a doubt concerned about a solution.
"It's definitely something everybody contends with," said Power Girl Lisa Trajkovich, writer and co-owner of Protect-all, Inc. She rattles off a range of issues that are facing all business owners in the wake of America's health care crisis. As President Obama talks about reform and changes ranging from preventing issues caused by insurers to better coverage for the jobless or those with preexisting conditions, business owners who are looking to provide insurance for themselves and their staff are holding their breath.
It's an issue I can definitely relate to. As the founder of my second start-up, health insurance is one of my highest monthly costs -- and this is for relatively poor coverage. Despite that I pay $200 a month for insurance regardless of whether I use it or not, nearly $400 in additional fees came back to me the last time I went for a routine checkup. Despite that my broken ankle from 2008 was never billed to my new insurance, nor any related problems that may have risen, the insurance company increased my monthly cost by $80 nearly instantly upon reviewing my application.
As health care reform becomes a bigger issue, it can only be expected that women entrepreneurs everywhere will have an interest in what happens.