The National Federation of Independent Business reports that the most important issue for its members going into 2006 is again the cost of health care insurance premiums.

According to an NFIB news release, “Small business owners do not have access to the same high-volume health insurance discounts offered to larger companies. This inequity in the system does not provide affordable health insurance options to small employers, leaving many workers and their employers without insurance.”

A legislative committee has studied the health care insurance issue developed six bills to present to the General Assembly.

The 2006 legislative agenda includes attempts to roll back reforms made to the state’s workers’ compensation system, which the NFIB refers to as “among the best in the nation.” According to the NFIB, if the roll backs occur, “legislators will be sending a message that Colorado does not have a business-friendly environment and would therefore damage the economy.”

“NFIB will be closely monitoring the progress of these bills and working with legislators to ensure the small-business perspective and problems are understood and considered as they tackle this important issue,” said Tony Gagliardi, NFIB Colorado director.

Small businesses comprise 97 percent of the state’s business community. Small businesses employ 51 percent of Colorado’s work force.

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The NFIB is the nation’s largest small-business advocacy group, with 600,000 members nationwide. For more information, visit

PacifiCare partnerships

PacifiCare Health Systems Inc., which was acquired by UnitedHealth Group this month, is partnering with six retailers to market its new Medicare Part D prescription drug plans, according to the latest Colorado Managed Care newsletter.

“The marketing agreements with Minneapolis-based Target Corp., Walgreen Co., Albertson’s Inc., Safeway Inc., Long’s Drug Stores Corp. and Medicine Shoppe International Inc., cover nearly 11,000 retail locations nationwide,” the newsletter said.

PacifiCare will provide enrollment kits, free-standing kiosks and sales materials at the partner stores.

School receives certification

On Jan 14, the Colorado state-certified School of Inner Health in Manitou Springs is hosting a grand opening.

Kathleen Morrow has been practicing medical and lymphatic massage, and polarity and craniosacral therapy for 25 years. Morrow will now be teaching her methods. The school offers a two-year, 700-hour course in Craniosacral Biodynamics, which restores proper blood flow to the bones of the skull and the skeletal system.

Other therapists at the school include Bonnie Willow, Scott Olson and Bryan MacPherson.

The grand opening celebration open house takes place from 2 to 6 p.m. and includes demonstrations, refreshments and prizes. The school is located at 1 Lovers Lane. For more information, call 685-4805.

No. 1 resolution

Losing weight is the No. 1 New Year’s resolution.

That’s no surprise, considering obese people spend about 36 percent more than the general population on health care and 77 percent more on medications, according to a Rand health report. Obesity in the United States contributes $70 billion a year to health care costs.

Smokers spend 21 percent more on their health care needs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that smoking triples the risk of dying from heart disease among middle-age men and women.

Quitting smoking is the No. 2 New Year’s resolution.

The top-10 New Year’s resolutions listed at

1) Lose weight

2) Stop smoking

3) Stick to a budget

4) Save or earn more money

5) Find a better job

6) Become more organized

7) Exercise more

8) Be more patient at work and with others

9) Eat better

10) Become a better person

Whatever you resolution, it’s all about choice.

Jeremy Strom, the executive fitness director at World Gym, talked about why resolutions are nothing more than choices. Here are some of his points regarding choice:

“You are either choosing towards health or away from health.”

“You can choose to get educated about nutrition.”

“You can choose to buy into the greatest you: a confident, healthy, calm, peaceful, empowering, inspiring, authentic, wise, intuitive, honest and kind self.”

“You can choose your surroundings, both environmental and social.”

“You can choose to get educated about consumption and recycling.”

“You can choose your attitude.”

“You can choose to enjoy your job, or choose to get a job that you do enjoy.”

“You can choose to take care of yourself. You can choose to get assistance if needed, with a doctor or a therapist, etc.” “You can choose to be well.”

“You can choose to work out. You can choose to get educated about your body both physiologically and anatomically.”

Good luck with your choices, and Happy New Year!

Marylou Doehrman covers health care for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.