The relentlessly rising cost of health insurance is prompting some small Massachusetts companies to drop coverage for their workers and encourage them to sign up for state-subsidized care instead, a trend that, some analysts say, could eventually weigh heavily on the state’s already-stressed budget.
Since April 1, the date many insurance contracts are renewed for small businesses, the owners of about 90 small companies terminated their insurance plans with Braintree-based broker Jeff Rich and indicated in a follow-up survey that they were relying on publicly-funded insurance for their employees.
In Sandwich, business consultant Bill Fields said he has been hired by small businesses to enroll about 400 workers in state-subsidized care since April, because the company owners said they could no longer afford to provide coverage. Fields said that is by far the largest number he has handled in such a short time.
“They are giving up out of frustration,’’ Fields said of the employers. “Most of them are very compassionate but they simply can’t afford health insurance any more.’’
Precisely how many small businesses have recently given up offering insurance is hard to pinpoint. The Office of Labor and Workforce Development said the most recent quarterly insurance data collected from small companies has not been compiled.
Oh, snap! It seems that companies are kicking their employees off of their insurance rolls and hoisting them on the taxpayer! What a shock! You think that this might happen with ObamaCare? Nah, come on now.