I grew in rural western Ohio in the most productive farming county in the state. My Mom (pictured) was a guiding light throughout my childhood. She was my town’s favorite hairdresser and everyone seemed to know her and came to her to share details – good and bad – about their lives.
My parents divorced when I was a teenager, and a month before her COBRA expired she was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. She was lucky, in a way, that insurance did cover her treatment, and she’s now been cancer free for over a decade. This was pre-ACA, so after her treatment she was uninsurable. Aside from herself, she also couldn’t afford to offer health benefits to her employees.
My mom was a fighter and she survived after several rounds of chemotherapy and a mastectomy. She is inspiring, but her ordeal also highlights a sad state of affairs in this country – one in which she was close to being financially ruined had she been diagnosed a month later.
Nearly 50 million people access health benefits through their small business employer (<100 employees) or by being self-employed. These Americans deserve a great health benefits experience at an affordable price. Unfortunately, while innovation is successfully lowering cost for the largest employers (Amazon, Walmart, etc.), little to none of these innovations are filtering down to small companies.