Will My Business Lose Good Applicants Without Health Care?
By: Adam Groff
Small business owners face enough challenges, so when they are not able to offer healthcare to current or future employees, the job of running a small business becomes that much harder.
Why are so many small businesses struggling with health care and is there a happy healthcare middle ground to be found?
The Cost of Health
Depending on the plan and policy, health care coverage is too costly for many small businesses. In fact, the U.S. healthcare system imposes taxes on small businesses that include brokerage fees and administrative costs that don’t affect larger businesses.
As a result, small businesses tend to pay almost 20% more per employee than bigger companies with the same health care policy. This number is staggering for small businesses with lower annual incomes like mom and pop stores.
Who Pays What?
Because small businesses, even those with five or fewer employees, are unable to cover the entirety of their employees’ healthcare, thousands of small businesses are losing applicants and current employees to larger businesses with better plans.
In other words, if a business that pays $150 a month per employee in healthcare related expenses chooses to pass 1/3 the cost to its employees, the employees pay $50 a month out of pocket for coverage. That’s a lot to ask for from anybody who works for a living.
Known as Obamacare, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires businesses with fifty plus employees to provide health insurance to all employees or risk penalization. Although this exempts many small businesses, there’s more to it than that.
Under the new healthcare reform, although small businesses don’t have to offer health insurance, the ones that do are banned from turning away applicants with pre-existing conditions.
Likewise, those companies providing health care inherently look more desirable than those that don’t thus reducing applicant interest in many smaller businesses. This just adds to the idea that when it comes to health care, there’s no way to please everyone.
The Middle Ground
With all the debate surrounding healthcare reform, its affect on small business, and its affect on employees, there must be a silver lining in the healthcare clouds, right? Luckily, there is legislation underway right now trying to level the insurance playing field.
For example, insurance exchanges are being developed that allow certain small businesses to choose from a variety of plans with a range of price points. This gives small businesses insurance options based on what each employee needs.
Additionally, small businesses that do provide health insurance to their employees will receive tax credits. These credits offset some of the costs associated with insuring smaller businesses thus alleviating financial strain and attracting more applicants.
The Future of Healthcare
The hope is that tax credits in combination with insurance exchanges and other incentives will spark more small businesses into forming. And, whether new or established, these small businesses will no longer lose applicants due to a lack of health insurance.
When it comes down to it, healthcare should be considered both a privilege as well as a necessity.
And, if the right steps are taken, an applicant can finally take a job based on skill level and desire, not whether it provides the proper coverage.
About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of compelling content. He specializes in writing on a variety of topics including personal health,online reputation, and insurance for insurance’s sake.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.