Is Health Insurance the Sleeping Giant Preventing Entrepreneurship in US?

insurance policy document

I know it is a bold statement. But throughout time, government policy and social factors have affected entrepreneurship.  I am not trying to get into the whole healthcare political debate.  I just want to share a couple of recent conversations I have had.  And merely share a trend that has bubbled to the surface.

One story where a cancer survivor who has brilliant and innovative ideas on how to transform nonprofit fundraising, but is confound by a less than visionary work setting.  I passionately said, “Quit and start your own transformational fundraising consulting firm.”  For a moment there was a spark in her eye…it was a fleeting moment.  She replied, I can’t. I have to be a part of a group health insurance plan.  My risk profile isn’t very flattering, so I have to go with a traditional work setting.

Next story, this is a series that I bundled all together.  I talk to several highly experienced people in their 50s and 60s that dream of starting another career or their own company and when I ask, “well, why don’t you just do it! Is it fear that is holding you back?”  The number one reply: It’s health insurance.  At “my age” it’s difficult to get the coverage you need for an affordable price.

When people of all ages talk to me about my business, the first question that comes up.  How do you deal with health insurance?  I am sure there are lots of solutions, I just say, “I have an individual plan. It’s not the best, but it is affordable and it works fine.”

Don’t get me wrong, I know many people aren’t cut out to be entrepreneurs. I know that health insurance is just the first barrier to taking the leap.  But interesting that it is one of the top reasons people don’t even consider their alternatives.

What do you think?  Is health insurance the sleeping giant that’s holding us back?


About the author

Melissa Kennedy

I am an innovative, practical problem-solver with an MBA. Pioneered one of the first social media strategic plans for a Fortune 100 company, including monthly online TV program viewed by 120,000 customers. Created a scalable channel marketing service model and established a new customer communication channel through partner web syndication. Developed marketing plan for start-up technology firm. Launched first comprehensive marketing campaign for major science and technology university's $1 Billion fund-raising effort. Award-winning performance for 15 years across functions, industries and organizations.

My passion for results goes beyond professional pursuits. I am a global facilitator and co-organizer of Startup Weekends and serve as an advocate and volunteer for many local charities including Food Bank of Central/Eastern NC, North Carolina International Affairs Council and Connected Women of North Carolina. Plus, I have served as the President for the Triangle Interactive Marketing Association,


  1. Janet Kennedy

    You are right on the money, Ester Mae!

    The fastest growing segment of the Startup/entrepreneurship movement is the baby boom generation. But imagine how amazing it would be if the people with ideas based on decades of career experience entered the game? What’s holding them back? Access to affordable health insurance!

    1. Melissa Kennedy

      Thanks Janet.

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