Worries of increases, deductible, lead to more limited offerings

Robert Sasquet, Egger's Furniture in Middleboro
Robert Sasquet's company, Egger's Furniture in Middleboro, employs four people. Sasquet testified at the Division of Insurance's hearing in Hyannis about the issues facing his company's health insurance, particularly when it comes to increasing deductibles.

Originally, Sasquet - who pays 100 percent of his employees' insurance - was facing an 18 percent increase in premiums, with a $1,000 deductible going to $2,000. He says that kind of big deductible is too big for employees like his.

"(High-deductible plans) don't make sense for low-income employees. Two guys in my warehouse are making $13 an hour. No flashy trips to Foxwoods, they are buying groceries and paying rent."

For example, his warehouse employees make $13 an hour, and he notes they aren't big spenders. They don't go on flashy trips to Foxwoods, and instead get by, paying rent and buying groceries. A $2,000 deductible is too much for them, and makes health insurance almost useless.

Adding to his employees' financial burden is the loss of some income. His sales staff is making less money, because they work partially on commission and are making fewer sales. All of his employees are missing out on overtime and extra work days because of the slowed economy.

Sasquet work with an insurance broker, and found a more limited plan that increases premiums 6 percent, and in fact lowers the deductible. He's relatively happy with this solution, because as he puts it, "6 (percent) is better than 18."