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Don’t Run Your Business Like Obamacare

October 27, 2015
fast food

Photo courtesy of Keoni Cabral

I’m a believer that everybody should have health insurance. During my time in the music business, I saw way too many artists (and others) have their lives completely disrupted because they didn’t think coverage was important.

You don’t want to be the guy begging for money after something bad happens to you. And it’s not like a charity show, a bake sale, or a few bucks to a GoFundMe campaign are really going to do anything more than hold off the inevitable for a few months anyway.

Good medical care costs a shitload of money in this country. Without health insurance, if something happens to you and you need to go to the hospital, you’re screwed.

Because of this, I was happy to see the Affordable Health Care Act (also known as Obamacare) happen. It made it so much easier for the self-employed to get good insurance, not just a basic “major medical” plan that is only slightly better than no insurance at all.

So I jumped on it. Since January 2014, I’ve been on a “Platinum” plan with Blue Cross Blue Shield. Right now, that runs me $489.14 every month.

A couple of weeks ago, Blue Cross Blue Shield sent me a letter letting me know about changes for 2016. The most notable one is that my monthly rate is going up to $750.22 — a 53% increase.

Save Now, Pay Later

When you buy insurance, the premiums you and others pay basically go into a big ass poll of money that is used to pay claims. When there are more claims than premiums, rates go up. When there are fewer, thanks to the Affordable Health Care Act, rates go down.

To put it simply, to keep rates down, healthy people who don’t file claims pay for the sick who do.

My state, Tennessee, ranks 45th in the United States for overall health. Only Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina, Alabama, and West Virginia have higher rates of diabetes, obesity, physical inactivity, and smoking.

Tennessee spends $6,000,000,000 per year on treatment of preventable or behavior-related diseases. In other words, things like high blood pressure and smoking-related illnesses are costing us a fortune.

This means rates are going up.

It didn’t always cost us this much. It can take years for lifestyle-related illnesses to kick in.

But when symptoms hit, they hit hard. So hard that even if you personally did everything right, because so many people didn’t, you’re still going to pay the price.

This isn’t a complaint about Obamacare — this is how everything works. The good news though is that, unlike our healthcare system, you can offset many of these “weak link” problems in your business.

Don’t Run Your Business Like Obamacare 

I think healthcare is a basic human right. And even if somebody is doing the equivalent of anti-health care, such as smoking, eating fast food, and never exercising, those people still deserve access to it.

With that said, your business isn’t a basic human right. Your business is providing a for-profit service to customers, employment to people, and security for you and your family.

Don’t let “weak links” take you down.

What you do in your business today matters. And because you’re connected to them, what the people whom you work with do today also matters.

In business, it’s easy to let small things slide, because they’re not a problem yet. Small things can soon become big things though.

Don’t pay for the laziness and bad habits of others, now or in the future. If somebody within your company isn’t pulling his weight, either get him up to speed or let him go.

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