We All Pay for Healthcare for Uninsured
Premiums for employer-provided family health insurance will cost, on average, an extra $922 in 2005 to cover the unpaid expenses of healthcare for the uninsured, according to a recent report issued by Families USA, a health consumer organization. These added costs account for $1 out of every $12 spent for employer-provided health insurance. By 2010, the figure is estimated to exceed $1,502 per family. “The large and increasing number of uninsured Americans is no longer simply an altruistic concern on behalf of those without health coverage, but a matter of self-interest for everyone,” said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA. “The stakes are high both for businesses and for workers who do have health insurance, because they bear the brunt of costs for the uninsured.”
The Families USA report found that only 35 percent of healthcare costs incurred by uninsured people are paid by the uninsured themselves. The remaining costs are generally considered “uncompensated care.” Of uncompensated-care costs, a portion is picked up by federal, state and local government sources. The remaining costs are shifted and added on to the insurance premiums for people who have health coverage. These uncompensated costs will exceed $43 billion nationally in 2005.
How Little Guys Fight Back
Small retail owners say stocking unique items, providing personalized customer service and pricing competitively help them compete against big-box retailers such as Wal-Mart, Target, K-Mart and others, according to survey results released by DollarDays International, an Internet-based wholesaler to small businesses and local distributors. According to survey results, 99 percent of the small businesses have big-box retailers located near their stores. About 72 percent opened their stores after the chain stores arrived in town, while 26 percent were already in business. Of those already in business, 52 percent say they implemented new strategies to compete, including cutting prices (25 percent), increasing inventory (23 percent) and increasing marketing and advertising (22 percent). The survey shows that implementing these strategies resulted in 42 percent of the small retailers maintaining their market share, while 35 percent reported an increase in business and less then 1 percent said business decreased.
“Small retailers need to understand when a big-box retailer opens in their community, it’s not a death sentence, and this survey underscores that,” said Marc Joseph, president of DollarDays and author of The Secrets of Retailing Or How to Beat Wal-Mart. Joseph said many retailers who have been driven out by big-box stores were capitalizing on their local monopoly by selling ordinary merchandise at inflated prices. When Wal-Mart came in, these small retailers were undersold.
Women Business Owners Are Risk Takers
Many women business owners – now numbering 10.6 million nationwide – are willing to take substantial financial risks to ensure the success of their businesses, says a new study from the Center for Women’s Business Research underwritten by Wells Fargo. The report, titled “Women Entrepreneurs Savvy About Risk,” also says women business owners are much more willing to take risks in running their businesses than in their personal finances.
The more than 400 women business owners surveyed were asked to determine whether they would take substantial or above-average risks in regards to their business. Almost one of every four surveyed (21 percent) said they were willing to take substantial financial risks expecting substantial returns when saving or investing for their business, while 45 percent were willing to take above-average financial risks expecting above-average returns.
“This report shows that, contrary to common belief, women business owners are indeed willing to take financial risks in order to expand their businesses,” said Marjorie Alfus, chair of the Center for Women’s Business Research. “In fact, two-thirds ofthe women in this study were willing to take above-average or substantial risks to achieve their growth goals. The success of their risk-taking is documented in the dynamic growth rates – employment by women-owned businesses expanding at twice the rate of all businesses (24 percent vs. 12 percent) and revenues growing 17 percent faster than all businesses.”
Risk-taking was consistent among all types of women-owned businesses in the study, regardless of company size, age of business, or personal characteristics of the business owner (age, education, ethnicity, etc.).