Last week I wrote about a small investment Founders Co-op had made in Array Health Solutions, a Seattle company that helps small employers control the spiraling cost of health benefits. This morning I unfolded my New York Times to find a front-page article on the very problem Array was created to solve. The story, titled “Small Payroll, Big Woes on Insurance“, frames up the issue well:
“The economic downturn has only accelerated the pressure on small-business owners to pinch every penny, and many feel they have few options but to go after employee health coverage… [y]et for many small-business owners, it can be excruciating to reduce or eliminate benefits for employees who have long been treated as family and who continue to work at their sides, every day.“
The story goes on to outline the solution Array makes possible:
“With the help of her insurance broker, Ms. Allen is exploring whether her employees could afford individual health policies if she provided them with stipends equal to about half of what she now pays for their health care.”
The Array team still has to execute like mad for their offering to become the preferred solution to this problem, but I give them full credit for spotting the issue early and coming up with a creative solution that balances the economic needs of small businesses with the very real emotional and ethical commitments a business has toward its employees.