Commentary and conversations about life in Richmond, Indiana

Community Life

Health insurance standoff is bad for business

There’s a standoff between Reid Health and two area health insurance providers, Anthem and MDwise. Unless it’s resolved quickly, individuals purchasing health insurance outside of an employer’s group plan will not be able to use their insurance at Reid’s facilities unless it’s a medical emergency. According to the Palladium-Item, as of a few days ago it doesn’t look like this will be resolved in time for the open enrollment period that begins November 1.

This is bad for the nearly 3,000 people estimated to be affected by it. They may have to leave the city or even the county to get covered medical care, or be discouraged from seeking medical help when they need it. It’s bad for Reid Health, which has invested heavily and generously in serving this community.

It’s also bad for entrepreneurship.

When I first started a business in Richmond, my co-founder and I didn’t have the income to have the company provide group health insurance for us. We happily purchased basic individual health insurance policies and had no problems with coverage using local doctors. This continued for the first few years of our existence until we hired our first employee, and then we invested in a group insurance plan.

Given this standoff, if someone wanted to start a business here today and didn’t have access to health insurance through a family member, they’d be unable to find an individual policy that allowed them to have covered medical care through Reid Health. Indiana is one of the states that doesn’t allow “group of one” policies, so an entrepreneur would have to start hiring right away and commit to paying at least 50% of the premium costs for at least a handful of employees.

This could be a huge part of a fledgling business’s early revenue, not to mention a significant amount of time and paperwork to manage. I can imagine that someone encountering this roadblock might think twice about launching a business in a place where useful individual healthcare insurance is not easily accessible.

I don’t know what the right answer is in the negotiations taking place. But Richmond needs fewer disincentives for entrepreneurship and new small businesses starting here, not more. Anthem, MDwise and Reid Health should quickly come to a compromise that allows for reasonable individual insurance options to be available in our area.


Photo by Sergio Santos

1 Comment

  1. I appreciate your perspective on this issue, Chris.

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