NU Online News Service, Aug. 8, 2:55 p.m. – HealthExtras Employers with fewer than 200 employees are more likely than large employers to support a patient’s right to independent review of a health plan’s medical decision and the right to sue the plan, a new survey says.

The survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, Menlo Park, Calif., found that 86% of smaller employers support independent review, compared with 78% of large employers.

Similarly, 67% of smaller employers support the right to sue a health plan, compared with just 28% of large employers.

However, these numbers are based on the cost of health insurance remaining constant. When told that the cost of health insurance might increase as a result of these changes, support from smaller employers drops significantly.

For example, if the right to an independent review increases the cost of health insurance by $1 per month, support for independent review drops to 72% among small employers and 60% among large employers.

Similarly, if the right to sue adds $5 per month to the cost of insurance, support for the right to sue drops to 50% among small employers and just 13% among large employers.

If the right to sue adds $30 per month to health insurance premiums, support among small employers drops to 26%, and just 5% among large employers.

The survey also asked very small employers, those with between three and 24 employees, what they would do if faced with a $20 per month increase in health insurance premiums.

The survey found that 36% of the respondents say they would absorb the entire cost.

Some 40% say they would pass some of the cost on to their employees, while 12% say they would pass on the entire cost.

Another 4% say they would drop health insurance coverage entirely, while 2% say they would switch to a plan with lower premiums.