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Small businesses struggling to pay health insurance, says report

The number of employers in breach of health insurance rules have fallen year-on-year after a surge in 2020 caused by Covid-19, according to a recent report by the Bermuda Health Council.

The BHeC’s Employers Compliance Annual Report 2021 found that the pandemic had caused better employer compliance in 2021 compared to 2020 with a falling number of complaints.

“In 2021, the Council noticed a decline in the number of policies reported compared to 2020,” the report said. “This is may be indicative of a return to an overall decline in the instance of employer non-compliance.

“A reduction in the number of complaints received in 2021 compared to 2020 supports this premise.”

But the BHeC noted that small businesses were still the most likely to find themselves non-complaint.

“Companies with ten or fewer employees are the majority of businesses reported monthly by insurers as non-compliant,” the report said. “Small businesses state that they struggle to afford their monthly health insurance premium.

“The recent trend of employers transitioning to less expensive plans may result in an increase in compliance over time.

“However employees may lose access to supplemental benefits and pay more out-of-pocket expenses due to reduced coverage.”

The BHeC report found that there was a 12 per cent drop in the total number of inactive policies reported and a 4 per cent decrease in the total number of affected employees reported in 2021 compared to 2020.

Of the employers investigated for having inactive health insurance policies over the course of 2021, 61 per cent of policies were reactivated, which resulted in 704 employees regaining health insurance coverage.

The report found that the number of employer compliance complaints fell by almost half year-on-year from 24 in 2020 to 13 in 2021.

“One of the two cases referred to the Department of Public Prosecutions in 2020 was completed in 2021,” the BHeC added.

“The employer pled guilty and received an $800 penalty for failing to provide an employee with coverage for a three-month period.

“The other case was adjourned in 2021 and is still outstanding.”

The BHeC also highlighted that a total of 86 non-compliant employers were listed on the BHeC website over the course of 2021, compared to 92 the previous year.

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Published July 09, 2022 at 7:59 am (Updated July 09, 2022 at 7:40 am)

Small businesses struggling to pay health insurance, says report

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