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'Try to remain healthy'
'Try to remain healthy'
Metropolitan Archives' founders, Doug Peters (left) and Joe Incarnato, met with President Obama in October.

Metropolitan Archives
Landover, Md.
Health care: 12 employees. Nine full-time workers are covered.

Metropolitan Archives' warehouse -- packed to the gills with boxes upon boxes of company documents -- served as the stage for President Obama's October speech announcing a second round of initiatives aimed at jumpstarting lines of credit to small businesses.

Joe Incarnato, president and co-owner of the family-run document storage company, started Metropolitan Archives in January 2005. Right off the bat, Incarnato offered health insurance to all of his employees.

"For me, it was hugely important," Incarnato says. "My wife is a cancer survivor, so health care is a big piece of what I want to be able to do."

Maintaining staff coverage keeps getting pricier. A little over a year ago, the company switched to Health Reimbursement Accounts, which Incarnato estimates has saved the company about 30% in health insurance costs.

The HRA plan that Metropolitan Archives offers has a very high deductible -- $1,200 for an individual and $2,400 for a family -- but the trade-off is lower premiums. Metropolitan Archives will pay the deductible for employees, but Incarnato hopes that most employees won't burn through it .

"[You are] banking on the fact that your people try to remain healthy and not use up the deductible, and therefore there is less cost," Incarnato says. "If you are really sick, obviously use it, but if you got a hangnail or something, don't go to the doctor for things like that, and it makes it more affordable for us."

So far, that approach is working. "In the first year, nobody really got close to using the deductible amount," Incarnato says. "I may have paid a couple hundred dollars here, couple hundred dollars there, but it wasn't anything too significant."

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LAST UPDATE: Jan 11 2010 | 2:14 PM ET
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