Healthcare access a struggle for small businesses during pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has only increased barriers to healthcare access for small businesses and private practices.

The COVID-19 pandemic has battered small businesses and practices financially causing them to struggle in accessing healthcare for their employees.

According to a news release, Lake Research Partners performed a survey of 500 small business owners across the country with an oversampling of Black, Latino, and Asian American/Pacific Islander owners and found that 34 percent say it has been a challenge to obtain health insurance coverage for both themselves and their employees. Minority owned businesses have experienced a greater struggle with a greater share of Black (50 percent), Latino (43 percent), and Asian American/Pacific Islander (44 percent) reporting issues.

Many small business and practice owners have been forced to make tough choices as the pandemic impacted them financially which have affected their ability to keep workers on payroll and maintain benefits with 60 percent of all small businesses who were forced to lay off or furlough employees have not been able to brin g their staff back to pre-pandemic levels. A further 16 percent of respondents plan to change or reduce healthcare coverage in the next few months in an effort to keep their businesses afloat, according to the release.

As part of the survey, small business owners were asked about their views on healthcare policy proposals aimed at lowering the barriers to healthcare. Some of the proposals small business owners support most strongly include:

  • 90 percent support bringing down the price of prescription drugs
  • 87 percent support preserving coverage for pre-existing conditions
  • 79 percent support eliminating surprise or balance billing
  • 77 percent support a public health insurance option that anyone can purchase insurance from
  • 73 percent support expanding Medicaid eligibility across all 50 states