Business owner cancels health insurance - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Business owner cancels health insurance

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December 13, 2007

Dawson --  The skyrocketing cost of health insurance is forcing some companies, especially small businesses to cancel coverage.

A Dawson businessman used to provide his employees 100% coverage, then he had to share the cost. Now, he's had to drop health benefits completely because neither he nor his employees can afford the premiums.

In 1993, Jesse Grimsley started up Sprigger's Choice, Incorporated. A small Dawson business that makes planting equipment. They have nine employees.  "About four years ago we paid for all the insurance here, and then the insurance went up and we changed companies, and we had to get back to about 50% sharing the cost of it," said Grimsley.

Then, in August, he received a mind-blowing alert-- his insurance for just those nine employees was going up drastically-- more than $30,000.  "I couldn't afford it and the employees couldn't afford it, so we're actually out of health insurance right now."

Grimsley doesn't understand the through-the-roof increases, but says they would have been crippling.  "I do know this for a fact: Today my employees, to pay health insurance, it takes food off the table, it takes clothes off their back, along with other costs, the rising price in fuel and all they have to pay for."

So now instead of paying, they're praying. Each Thursday Grimsley holds a devotional at the company... to give their health needs to God and encourage workers to take care of themselves. 

"We have gone to focusing on preventing health issues. Doing things like not smoking, getting rest, and I for one need to lose weight and I know it. And I need to concentrate on that and encourage them to live a better lifestyle to not even have to have an insurance company," said Grimsley.

While on group health insurance, Jesse Grimsley underwent a couple of surgeries. Now that he's dropped that coverage, he can't qualify for other insurance, regardless of how much he pays.

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