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Small Business: Affordable Health Benefits Key Concern

Health care benefits have become more expensive in recent years, which puts them out of reach for many Americans. Of the more than 45 million Americans who are uninsured, nearly 60 percent are employed by small businesses. According to a recent survey commissioned by Aflac of 501 small-business owners, many understand the role of a good benefits package in the hiring process. Nearly two-thirds of respondents reported that they are concerned about their company's ability to provide a benefits package that will attract and retain employees. Half of those surveyed agreed that they cannot attract and retain top-quality employees without offering competitive health benefits. However, small-business owners also acknowledged that providing benefits presented certain financial issues as well.

The survey found: * Nearly half reported that increasing health care costs have negatively impacted their employees' wages. * Six in 10 respondents agreed that "it is important to financially help employees with health challenges and medical emergencies." * Forty-two percent of those surveyed agreed that annual increases in health benefits have made them decrease their offerings. In feedback from small business owners, Aflac also found that many of them assumed that coverage was available only to large corporations. As a result, the insurer launched a new nationwide radio campaign focused on letting growing companies know that Aflac may provide an affordable solution to enhancing employee benefit offerings.

"At Aflac, we recognize that small business owners wear many hats, including the responsibility of making quality insurance benefits available to their employees," said Paul S. Amos II, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Aflac. "However, with rising health care expenses, many small business owners struggle to afford the cost of insurance while maintaining and recruiting a quality workforce. "Because small businesses are more susceptible to premium increases, it is critical that they are well-informed of the numerous health benefit options available. Aflac offers a wide variety of policies with no direct cost to employers, since most of the policies are individually issued and paid.


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