HomeOpinionWhat works best for community development? Employer-provided coverage

What works best for community development? Employer-provided coverage

When in Philly, Fishtown and Kensington are the neighborhoods that have become a must on the list of places to visit for any tourist. Located northeast of Center City, this Delaware River waterfront community has married its colonial-era history and its new 21st-century development — making it the prime location to get the best of the city.

Our unique name shows our history as a working-class fisherman community. However, our neighborhood has changed as the years have passed, and our businesses diversified. You can find these mom-and-pop shops from East Girard Avenue and north on Frankford Avenue and Front Street to Lehigh Avenue, lining the streets and becoming incubators of culture and talent.

These businesses are essential for attracting tourists and visitors, but they are the lifeblood of our community, providing jobs, sparking investments and improving the quality of life for those who live and work here. Any business owner will tell you, though, that our business community is only as strong as its employees. Businesses need to attract and retain a solid workforce to stay up and running, and customers serviced. Employer-provided coverage delivers all of that and more, as it empowers businesses to offer good quality and affordable benefits to their staff.

Because when our community members have good jobs with access to quality benefits, they are more productive and have more capital to invest in their communities.

Health care coverage at work helps individuals stay healthy. It encourages people to go to the doctors more frequently, helps manage complex, sometimes unforeseen conditions, and empowers personnel to take an active role in their physical and mental maintenance. When people can get good care, they can take the steps needed to reduce the number of sick days. Being more present makes an employee more productive and saves businesses and taxpayers money.

Employer-provided coverage is good for the businesses’ bottom lines, too. More flexibility and access to the health care system means that people can invest money into our local economies. Coverage received through work provides about $100 billion in cost savings for consumers each year, or about $625 per person. That can translate to 218 gallons of gas, 422 cartons of eggs and 3,125 diapers – all things that can be bought from our local businesses.

As we look forward to the growth of our neighborhoods, we need to think about the best ways to retain the quality of health for the people living and working in our community. Solutions and ways that empower local business development and create avenues for them to continue to thrive in places like Fishtown and Kensington.

I urge all businesses in our area and beyond to further look into how to provide these benefits to their staff. I genuinely believe that employer-provided coverage makes sense for the development of our state, for cities like Philadelphia and neighborhoods like Fishtown and Kensington. 

Kae Anderson is Director of Operations at Fishtown Kensington Area BID.

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