December 2, 2012
Virginia Organizing has been talking with small business owners about health care. The interview transcript is below. See the full interview at: http://youtu.be/kVl3CnFrfvU
So tell me who you are and tell me about your business?
I am Roger Boutchyard and I own Top Notch Custom Cycles. Where we do repair, service, custom bikes. It’s kind of business for a want, not really a need.
How long have you been doing it?
And do you like it?
Yes. I love it lot. Yeah.
Where are you located?
Not anymore, just this one.
How many employees do you have?
I’m down to three.
How many did you have at your best?
And is it the economy?
You used to offer health insurance. Tell me what happened. How long ago you were? What happened
I had health insurance thru Anthem, just me personally. We had it there for a little bit with the employees. Me personally and then the economy just got so bad. I dropped everything I could drop. All the… just kept necessities. Then it down to where I couldn’t afford the health insurance anymore. So I said well I’ll get it back … for now till when things get better. And it has gotten a little bit better. Not really great but enough to where I think I could get insurance going again. But now I can’t get insurance because of pre-existing conditions.
My back. I have a bad back. I get turned down because of a bad back.
You’ve tried to get insurance for yourself and you just.. turned down. Not even "we’ll give you a policy…"
I tried to get it back with the company I had it with.
And its not even one of “we’ll give a policy but it will cost $10,000?"
No policy. Can’t even find that.
And have you even tried to getting a policy to cover things other than your back?
Well Yes. I asked them, can I get health insurance and don’t cover the back for 12 months or 24 months it doesn’t matter. And I’m not getting anywhere with that either.
And they’re not even offering?
And how long have you been without insurance?
A year and a half
Anything bad happen in that time?
Yep. I just went to the emergency room two days ago.
Was it your back?
Bee sting. I’m allergic to bees. Couldn’t breath and had to go to the emergency room. I can’t wait to get that bill.
Would it help if you could offer insurance for your employees?
Have you looked at that?
It’s just not affordable. Lot of the guys here can’t afford it. I don’t know maybe it would be easier for me to get in a group rate with me getting turned down. I don’t know. We just don’t have enough people: One. And not affordable.
If the President walked in that door and said “Roger, what should we do about health care?" What would
you tell them to do?
Well I think they should change some of the guidelines on qualifying for health insurance number one, and make it more affordable. I don’t know the answer to that… I’m not.. have enough information to make that decision. But more affordable and change some of these guidelines. I mean..I have a back history so I can’t have health insurance.