Governor wants to offer health insurance $$$ - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Governor wants to offer health insurance $$$

August 8, 2007

Albany - Providing health insurance to employees is a big burden on businesses, especially small businesses. But Governor Sonny Perdue wants to ease that burden so more Georgians can have health insurance.

It's not just a hot job at Charlie's Paint and Body, It's a hard one. So co-owner Tammy Mays want to provide their workers with the best pay and benefits possible. "It's a hard situation to be in because you want good quality employees, but you also want to be able to have the funds there to pay them what they deserve and offer them the benefits they need, but it's hard to do both," she said.

Charlie's does offer health insurance to its employees, but not all small businesses can do that. "It's hard to provide those benefits and you take a small group and add a member of that group that say has health problems or develops cancer or what have you and it affects the rest of the group because you can't diminish it with large numbers, so it's really difficult for small businesses," said Insurance agent Sam Shugart.

He says about 95% of small businesses with fewer than 50 employees can't pay to provide health insurance for their employees, and some of those employees are forced into financial ruin when a health issue arises.

"You have a catastrophic illness or accident or what have you and you go to the hospital and you're paying for it for the rest of your life," said Shugart.

That's why he thinks Governor Perdue's plan to subsidize health insurance coverage for those small businesses is a good idea. He said, "I think it's certainly something worth looking into and worth pursuing and it certainly would allow small businesses to level the playing field."

And so does Mays. "Tremendously," she said. "I think it would do a great service for everybody, the employees and employer both."

And to the folks that are already insured too, because if health insurance pays for their treatments, your costs may not go up as much.

The governor is offering up to $20 Million from the state which would insure about 34,000 of the 1.7 Million uninsured Georgians.

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