If you type “Florida Small Business Owner” into your favorite internet search engine, don’t be surprised if your search result includes Elaine Davis, President and owner of Royal Maid Service in Boynton Beach, Fla.
Davis has been self-employed for almost 20 years. Two years ago, she opened the doors of her franchise housecleaning business just eight weeks after meeting the master franchiser. Since starting, she has grown her business and created jobs for five people.
“It was a good business fit for me and I enjoy meeting new clients that come my way,” said Davis. “It’s a busy job working hard to build trust and demonstrate integrity with your customers.”
But like the greater than 90% of small businesses owners in the country, Davis did not have health insurance.
“My husband and I are in excellent shape. We don’t smoke and we try not to take any medications. We never had health insurance because we resented having to pay up-front costs for physical exams. We suspected insurers would find something wrong with us before they covered us and would charge more,” recalled Davis.
Davis was not unlike the typical small business owner. She had concerns about the cost and accessibility of health care coverage in a market that tended to favor larger businesses for cost and accessibility. In fact, the hazard of getting sick or injured was something that became a reality to her.
“A couple years ago I was treated in an emergency room for an ankle sprain. I didn’t have insurance. When I left the emergency room after only a couple hours, I had a few x-rays, a pair of crutches and a $3000 bill,” said Davis.
Elaine and her husband followed the news reporting on the Affordable Care Act. They both didn’t think it was something that was going to work out for them.
“We didn’t think we could afford it. We couldn’t understand how the law was going to work out. We also heard from many friends who said their insurance rates were going up. It just didn’t seem like the new law was going to help us,” she said.
Instead of ignoring the media reports on the new health care law, Davis turned to a trusted business advisor who put her in contact with an insurance broker. That was a personal and business altering phone call.
“We didn’t use the website to see what our options were. Our insurance broker went through the website and we discovered we qualified for some subsidies because of our income with our start-up franchise. What we learned was that we got coverage at a very affordable premium and we were pleasantly surprised,” said Davis.
According to Davis, the broker obtained a Humana Direct Silver 500/750 Plan through the health care exchange. The plan provides all preventive services and includes most essential health benefits. She and her husband can choose any primary care physician from a network of local healthcare providers and they have the freedom to visit any doctor, specialist or hospital in the network without a referral.
“And if I find myself back in the emergency room with another sprained ankle or worse, I have out-of-network coverage if I need it,” said Davis.
Davis referred her employees to her insurance broker who also helped them obtain affordable health care coverage.
“One of my workers had not had health care coverage for a number of years. She also found coverage for a very affordable price,” said Davis.
Having grown up in Great Britain, Davis and her husband have different experiences and perspectives on health care than many Americans.
“Most Brits moan about the National Health Service there and it’s true there are long wait times for some procedures. But no-one ever lost their home because they got sick, which was always a worry once we came here,” said Davis. “The Affordable Care Act allowed us to get an affordable policy when the alternative was to go without. It has helped us and my employees,” Davis said.