A Covered California sign during a march in January. Courtesy Covered California

Even though the new state budget offers hope of bringing down healthcare costs for solo entrepreneurs like me, more must be done to make health insurance accessible to small businesses.

I was able to afford health insurance for my family last year because I qualified for a federal subsidy, but that changed this year when one of my children left for college and my household was reduced. Since I no longer qualify for federal assistance, my healthcare premium costs six times as much as it did before. Our bronze premium represents over 10 percent of our income–and has the highest deductible. So far this year I have not been able to afford paying my premium.

I must now decide between going without insurance and keeping my business, or closing my business so I can find a job with health coverage. While I am encouraged that the new state budget includes some new money for those whose income is slightly more than 400 percent of the federal poverty level, unfortunately it’s not enough for me. More needs to be done, and I hope this is the beginning of an effort to make health coverage affordable for all Californians.

Alma Beltran
President, Graphic Image Label
Chula Vista

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