Eric Wieffering has covered Minnesota's economy and business community for more than two decades. His column appears two to three times a week, including Sunday.

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More on health care costs

Posted by: Eric Wieffering under Business trends, Health care, Minnesota entrepreneurs Updated: October 31, 2011 - 10:14 AM

 I can write a column about the how  rising health care costs act as a brake on entrepreneurialism, but here's a real-life illustration from a reader:

 I am a 62-year-old self employed plumber.  My wife works part time for the company answering the phone, doing paperwork, etc., and we offer her health insurance for her and her husband (me).  Last year our premiums were $4,779 for 6 months. We got our notice last week that our premiums are going up to $6,205 for 6 months. That's about a 30% increase.

We have no dental, no eye coverage for exams or glasses. Our deductible is $5,100.00 until the insurance company starts to pay 50% of covered expenses until we reach our total out of pocket deductible of $6,300.00 per year. That comes to $18,710 total premium and deductible for two of us.

I hear our President saying that the small businesses need to be protected and helped. Apparently our insurance company hasn't gotten the message. I sure understand increases, but 30% is absolutely outrageous.

Your column today says, "How many dreams fall prey to health care costs?" For us there are many, including saving for retirement.

And here's this tale in the reader comments that follow the story online:

I know of a start up where the founder spent much of his retirement savings to develop an entirely new product, and got to the point of preselling. His wife got cancer, although not serious and since cured. He was told by his insurance broker that because of that he would be denied private family insurance once COBRA ran out. His only option would be to fall back to MNCare, very expensive and very limited coverage. But because his "certificate of insurability" from his last job was also about to expire, he would never, ever be able to get other health insurance again, even if he went to work for a company that provided health insurance. (For those who don't know, that's why when you leave a job you get that certificate--so you can get employer-provided health insurance without having to take a medical exam and prove insurability. But it's only good for 18 months.) So he had to get a job that provided health insurance, and he's trying to sell the startup. Startups with no sales aren't easy to sell nor would he recover what he spent even if it did.

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