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Affordable Health Care coverage too expensive for many small business owners

GREEN BAY, Wis. - It's that time of year again when those who don't have health insurance through work or from their spouse can sign up for an Affordable Health Care plan, but for 2018 coverage, the premiums and deductibles are breaking budgets for small business owners. 

For catastrophic health insurance and deductible costs, a patient can expect to pay $1,056 in Brown County. That can rise to $1,168 per month depending on the plan and level of care needed.

Last month, the popular Willow Street Bakery in Green Bay closed, after being a staple in the community for fifty years.

 Jill and Mark Baldwin sold the bakery after 24 years of ownership due to high costs of operation. Health insurance premiums are partly to blame.

"Insurance increase is probably the straw that broke the camel's back as far as we were concerned," Jill Baldwin told Local 5 back in October.

With 2018 enrollment ending on December 15th, many families and individuals have a month left to decide the kind of coverage they need, or pay a penalty for not having health insurance.

Cara Sanders owns Jake's Pizza in downtown Green Bay with her sister, Brooke Sanders.

Since they are small business owners with part-time employees, they sign up for health insurance plans on the marketplace.

"We don't have insurance, for ourselves through the business, so we're on the marketplace looking like a lot of other people are."

However, all of the plans are too expensive.

"We are looking for a family plan, we do have a daughter," Cara Sanders explained. "Where we're at just with our business, and what we can afford, we're pretty much priced out of any kind of decent plan. We could probably afford a plan that has an extremely high deductable."

Politicians on both sides talk about how important small businesses are to the health of the economy, but when it comes to the health of those small business owners, the story is much different.

"It's difficult to decide whether or not you're going to pay your utility bill or pay an insurance premium," Sanders said. "So what do you do? You work a little harder, and hope things turn out the way they should. I'm not gonna stop. I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing. I just, you know, maybe I can't go to the doctor in three months."

Sanders also said she had a plan with health insurance company Molina Healthcare of Wisconsin, but Molina dropped their coverage of the Prevea Health network.

Now, she can no longer see the doctors she has been going to for 20 years.

Sanders says she has not decided if she will sign up for health care this year. 






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