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NFIB probes small business dental, disability gaps

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Very small employers seem to be likely to offer dental coverage than to offer disability insurance, and are much more conscious of the lack of dental coverage.

Analysts at the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) uncovered that dental-disability awareness gap when they commissioned a survey of small U.S. employers.

About 350 of the participants were owners or managers at employers with one to nine employees. About 38 percent of the employers said they offer some kind of disability insurance, and only 18 percent said they offer dental insurance.

But the NFIB survey team also found evidence that micro employers’ understanding of disability insurance might be weak: 8.6 percent of the participants at micro employers were unable or unwilling to answer the question about disability insurance.

Just 0.2 percent of the participants were unable or unwilling to answer the question about dental insurance.

The U.S. Labor Department and some members of Congress have been proposing new paid-leave programs. One reason NFIB commissioned the survey was to find out what small employers are really doing about paid leave.

The sample included representatives from a total of 750 U.S. employers with 1 to 249 employees.

See also: Obama signs H.R. 1624, the small-group definition bill

The NFIB analysts found that, in many cases, the leave rules and insurance benefits at micro employers are similar to those at employers with 10 to 19 employees, and at employers with 20 to 249 employees.

About 83 percent of all of the participating small employers said they offer employees an average of at least one week of paid vacation time. The average at the micro employers was about the same as the overall average.

The micro employers were also about as likely as the others to say they offer paid sick leave, and to let employees use sick days to take care of a child or parent.

The NFIB analysts did find differences in recordkeeping.

About 52 percent of the employers in the 10-19 employee category said they keep records on the time employees spend out on sick leave and vacation leave, but only 39 percent of the micro employers said they keep leave records.

About 69 percent of the employers in the 10-19 employee category and 47 percent of the micro employers said they keep records on use of family leave.

See also:

Small employers’ health plan costs are up, says the NFIB

NFIB, insurers fight back against health insurance tax


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