Many thanks to all who participated in the November 2012 PBA poll on Health Insurance and sharing your thoughts, concerns and challenges around this topic. We have included your narrative comments at the end of the survey findings and appreciate you sharing your experiences and opinions, which are useful to your colleagues who are facing similar decisions and challenges.

I can’t afford insurance for my salon team…don’t know how we will be affected by new health care laws taking effect in the future.” survey respondent

Please visit the PBA Resource Spotlight to find information, links and ideas to help you explore your choices in this changing arena.

Here is what your survey responses said:

The overwhelming majority of survey respondents (85.3%) identify themselves as salon owners/managers, or licensed beauty professionals.
What is your primary role in the industry? Response Percent
Salon/Spa Owner or Manager 58.5%
Cosmetologist/Licensed Beauty Professional 26.8%
Manufacturer 4.9%
Distributor 7.3%
Associate or Other 2.4%
77.5% of survey respondents DO have access to major medical insurance by various channels:  37.5% through their employer, 17.5% under another family member’s policy, and 22.5% purchase their own policy.
Please indicate the option(s) closest to your own health care arrangement. Select all that apply: Response Percent
I have major medical insurance through my employer 37.5%
I have my own major medical insurance policy 22.5%
I am covered under another family member’s major medical policy 17.5%
I have a Healthcare Savings Account (HSA) plan 5.0%
I have a daily cash benefit or disability insurance plan 2.5%
I have a limited medical benefit plan (not major medical) that gives me some access to health care 2.5%
I have no insurance benefits related to health or health care 17.5%
Only 20% of respondents are ‘very satisfied’ with their current health care arrangement, and 25% are ‘very dissatisfied.’
How satisfied are you with your current health care arrangement? Response Percent
Very satisfied 20.0%
Somewhat satisfied 30.0%
Neutral 22.5%
Slightly dissatisfied 2.5%
Very dissatisfied 25.0%
Cost of insurance (67.6%) and high deductibles (60%) are the two top answers identified as major barriers to health insurance and benefits.
Please rate the following issues related to your access to health insurance and benefits. Major Barrier Minor Barrier Not a Barrier
Cost of Insurance 67.6% 16.2% 16.2%
Pre-existing Conditions 16.7% 25.0% 58.3%
High Deductibles 60.0% 20.0% 20.0%
Coverage/Benefits Too Low 25.7% 40.0% 34.3%
Specific Services not Covered 25.7% 22.9% 51.4%
Provider Not in Network 14.3% 31.4% 54.3%
A third of survey respondents (33.3%) are actively looking for a solution to their health insurance needs, and nearly another third (30.8%) will be shopping in the future.
Are you currently looking/shopping for a health care insurance product or solution? Response Percent
Yes 33.3%
No 28.2%
Not now but in the future 30.8%
Not sure 7.7%

Thanks again to everyone who participated in this final 2012 poll.  Participants’ comments on this issue follow. For questions on this survey, please contact Teena Austin at teena@probeauty.org.

More Survey Participant Comments:

As a salon owner I offer health insurance to my employees and pay half of my employees health insurance. I am on my husband’s plan to keep the salon’s cost down, but every year it is becoming more and more difficult for the salon to contribute to the rising cost of health care especially since we have a low number of employees on our plan. We have done all that we can do to help keep the cost down, but I still fear for the future and I hope that the plans we can afford down the road don’t jeopardize my employees health care.

I worked for myself for years and struggled to pay for health coverage for myself and family. I now teach at a Community/Technical college for the state and have great benefits.

I have insurance through the salon and I offer insurance. Having insurance allows my staff the benefit
of coverage when they probably couldn’t have gotten it otherwise.

Premiums are high because I am not part of a group plan.

Found a broker and he does the shopping for me…We instituted a $1000 deductible, $500 of which we cover.  We found that absorbing half of the deductible was less expensive than increasing the rate and keeping the original $500 (only) deductible.

We pay 50% of an individual policy and the same dollar amount towards family coverage. Total family coverage is $384 and the family is $924. This is too high of an amount for anyone to pay. We carry BCBS and have for over 25 years. In our state there is very little competition for insurance companies, so there for, we cannot shop around for better pricing.

Family of 4 and need cheaper health insurance with lower premiums and deductibles.

I want to shop for a plan for my salon employees including owners, but want to make sure I don’t have to do it all over as the fed health program comes in to being.

I can’t afford insurance for my salon team…don’t know how we will be affected by new health care laws taking effect in the future.

In MA we have universal health care and the cost for our health care has gone up over 25% per year since it started.  We currently pay almost $700.00 for a single plan with a $2,000.00 deductible per year.

I am gobsmacked at how many stylists are not for a single payer health care system. I really wish more salons actually provided benefits for their stylists by commission-only salons so as to better manage the money coming into the salon, benefitting everyone. I am a recently-licensed cosmetologist, and having researched the industry at length, or so I thought, I am very disappointed in the civic-mindedness of fellow stylists who only know the industry as the type where you HAVE to rent or that it’s okay to work under the table at a salon as an assistant. Never, NEVER work anyplace that won’t put you on the books. I’m irritated with salons who continue to do this and perpetuating the illegal behavior. I am also dismayed stylists only earn minimum wage (as well as assistants). I long for the first salon to break out of this mold; they will only get the best applicants that way.

Because of a surgery I had 4 years ago that fixed the problem I was having, insurance for me is very expensive and I still have to pay so much out of pocket. In less than one year I found myself in a huge debt paying for this insurance that wasn’t paying anything for me. I had to cancel it. It’s a huge concern as a self employed esthetician that if something even minor happens, I could lose my esthetic practice because of medical bills.

I am a stylist and have insurance with my wife’s job. I am also a sales rep and call on several salons. It is hard to see single parent stylist trying to make it without insurance. We can only do so many cut-a-thons. I wish our state would do something to help these stylists.

Cost is the major obstacle! The cost to insure my child and myself is astronomical. So far, I’m in search of solutions to resolve the health care “crisis”.

I offer health care through Keystone Blue Cross to all of my staff. I pay 50% and they are responsible for the other 50%. We just received notice that the premium is going up a few hundred dollars per person, per month. I feel that this benefit is essential to staff retention but it is getting hard to see a profit after the expense of vacation, health and matching taxes. I would be interested in getting more information on a competitive plan as myself and three other family members are also on the salon plan.

Our concerns are that the AHCA has priced insurance to unaffordable levels to maximize profits and rates prior to its full implementation. We are faced with a 30% increase next year.

1. Against state law to shop out of state.
2. Against state law to join other small businesses to shop as a group.
3. Unable to charge smokers a higher premium.
4. Unable to charge obese and unhealthy participants a higher premium.

We have united healthcare but they are so expensive for women that we cannot offer them to our employees. We need a plan that will work well for all employees.

My primary concern is that a lot of small businesses like salons aren’t offering their employees medical benefits simply because it is too expensive. Therefore, it is up to me/us to find an affordable healthcare program on our own. With the economy it is sometimes difficult to know if it will be affordable. Salon business fluctuates constantly and can make things difficult.

How will Obamacare regulations be implemented and how does it affect my salon?  Better yet how can I set up my compensation system to offer healthcare to my team?

I currently carry my own health care I have a very good plan. My biggest concern is the cost of health insurance going up 15 -20 percent a year. I am 62 self employed and wonder how much longer will I be able to afford my plan.