El Dorado County Program Aims to Educate Small Businesses About Health Care Options
Access El Dorado, a committee established by an El Dorado County Public Health Department initiative that aims to improve health coverage in the small business community, on Monday met with health insurers to discuss the possibility of creating "customized programs" for small business owners, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The committee, or ACCEL, was created using part of a $1.8 million federal grant to improve access to health services for county residents.
Companies with 50 or fewer employees account for the largest business group in El Dorado County. The department estimates that at least 10% of El Dorado residents have no health insurance and as many as one-third are underinsured.
Committee members say they are in the "information-gathering stage," according to the Bee.
Shawna Purvines, county economic development director and an adviser to the committee, said that cost, extensive paperwork and liability are the major factors preventing more employers from offering health insurance.
Mary Lynn Carlton, ACCEL business project coordinator, said the committee is considering initiatives to encourage employers to offer workers credits for basic health screenings and raising awareness about public health programs available for employees and their dependents.
Committee member Dick Bush said the group's goals include compiling and publicizing health care options for small businesses. He added that members also are working with members of the local medical community to identify ways to improve efficiency and lower costs.
Carlton said that the committee hopes to convince business owners that "if you have a healthy work force, you will have a healthier bottom line."
ACCEL likely will hold public forums to distribute findings to the business community, according to Carlton (Locke, Sacramento Bee, 3/31).