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Survey: Weak Health Packages Hurt Employers

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Some small businesses say the high cost of medical insurance is affecting their profits.

Researchers at Aflac Inc., Columbus, Ohio, have published figures concerning that topic in a summary of results of a recent survey of 501 U.S. small business benefits decision-makers.

About 58% of the businesses included do offer health benefits, and 52% of employees at the small businesses with health benefits receive employer-paid health coverage.

But 36% of the survey participants told Aflac that weaknesses in their health benefits already have hurt their businesses.

Weak health benefits have hurt profitability at 24% of the businesses, interfered with efforts to attract new employees at 11% of the businesses, and contributed to the loss of good employees at 7% of the businesses, according to Aflac.

Only 7% of the small businesses included in the survey offer health savings accounts, but the small businesses that do offer health benefits still pay 100% of the premiums for 21% of the employees covered, Aflac reports.