Andy Anderson
Red Clay Tile Works

We are self-employed sole proprietors and health insurance has been the most challenging aspect of running our small business even though we are fit, eat well, and are relatively healthy. The individual insurance market in Pennsylvania exists only for the young and the very healthy. For everyone else, obtaining insurance in the individual market is an expensive nightmare.

We have always had to shop for medically underwritten insurance because it is the only type we can afford. That can’t be done forever because, as we age, illnesses of some form are inevitable. When we were young we policy-hopped from year to year chasing lower prices. They would offer us insurance but would “rider” out body parts they didn’t want to cover. Development of a condition can cause the application to be rejected all together. At one point we were rejected from a policy because my son had had three ear infections.

We have had a high deductible insurance policy since 1997. It is the only way health insurance is “affordable” for us. There were several years when our premiums increased significantly—sometimes as much as 50 percent. There have been years when health insurance ate up more than a third of our income.

Every so often we priced the “good’ type of insurance that actually covered something. One quote we received was for $1800/month for 3 of us. By the time we added on our dental, vision, and self employment taxes, the real cost was over $26,000/year. That’s more than $13.00 per hour to pay for health insurance before we even paid a tax.

*Member of SMC Business Councils