Finds Significant Differences in Perceptions Regarding Health Insurance among Insured and Uninsured Owners

Release by Newstream


September 2004 (Newstream) — Decisions made by women business owners may affect access to health insurance and health care for millions of Californians and their families. California is home to more women-owned businesses than any other state in the country with approximately 1.2 million women business owners statewide who employ 2.8 million people.

A survey, commissioned jointly by Blue Cross of California (Blue Cross) and the National Association of Women Business Owners California (NAWBO-CA), reveals significant differences in perceptions related to health insurance between those women business owners currently offering insurance and those who do not:

  • Of the uninsured participants, 50 percent said “affordability” is the key barrier to health care coverage.
  • Uninsured women business owners placed less importance on securing health insurance for their employees than insured women business owners (50 and 83 percent say “very important” respectively).
  • Insured women business owners reported health insurance as “very important” when trying to attract and retain employees than the uninsured (77 and 47 percent respectively).
  • Seventy-eight percent of the insured women business owners reported they currently contribute over 50 percent of each employee’s health insurance costs-of that population, 50 percent pay for the entire premium. Twenty-eight percent of uninsured women business owners reported they would consider contributing over 50 percent of each employee’s health insurance costs.
  • Seventy-eight percent of women business owners consider independent agents and brokers to be a primary source for information about health insurance.

National studies indicate that lack of health insurance reduces access to preventive care and ultimately leads to poorer health outcomes. Information obtained through the survey is intended to better understand women business owners’ perceptions related to health care coverage.

“We developed the survey to gauge women business owners’ health insurance preferences in an effort to consider plans that may better address their financial and health needs,” says Deborah Lachman, senior vice president of Individual and Small Group Services for Blue Cross of California.

“Women business owners have great appreciation for health insurance benefits because their financial decisions impact their own families as well as their employees,” offers Betsy Berkhemer-Credaire, immediate past president of National Association of Women Business Owners California.

In fact, women-owned businesses spend millions on benefits for their employees. According to the Center for Women’s Business Research, health benefits comprise the largest share of benefit expenditures, with 2004 spending nationally estimated at $38 billion.

“Our collaboration with Blue Cross offers the ability to gain knowledge and strengthen awareness surrounding current health and needs of women business owners in California,” says Jerri Hemsworth, current California president of National Association of Women Business Owners.

Many options currently exist for women business owners seeking access to health insurance such as new, more affordable, small group plans; financing options such as defined contribution and health savings accounts; and California law offering protections for small business with two to 50 employees.

For more information, please contact your local agent, visit or NAWBO-CA Blue Cross resource page or call 1-800-999-2273.  Listen to audio and watch the new video news release in the Blue Cross News Room at:


Blue Cross of California and its California affiliates, serving more than 7.5 million medical members, is an operating subsidiary of WellPoint Health Networks Inc., the nation’s second largest publicly traded health care company. WellPoint serves the health care needs of 15.5 million medical members and 46.2 million specialty members nationally. WellPoint offers a broad spectrum of quality network-based health products including open access PPO, POS and hybrid products, HMO and specialty products. Specialty products include pharmacy benefit management, dental, utilization management, vision, mental health, life and disability insurance, long term care insurance, flexible spending accounts, COBRA administration, and Medicare supplements. Blue Cross of California can be found on the web at Blue Cross of California is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Association.

NAWBO-California is the most influential women’s business organization in the state, representing 1.2 million women business owners (50 percent ownership) statewide that employ nearly 2.8 million people and generate $405 billion in sales. NAWBO-California is the consortium has nine chapters located in the major metropolitan areas throughout the state: Los Angeles, Orange County, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Ventura County, Inland Empire and Desert Cities. For more information about NAWBO-California, please call 888-NAWBO-CA, email to or visit is committed to presenting diverse points of view. However, the viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at IMD.