Real Stories

Marinés Duarte

The impact of a pandemic for a small business owner

The pandemic has affected all of us in one way or another, with HEALTH being the most important and sacred of all. In this article I will tell you how it affected us and also the steps to better understand your health insurance options in order to take action right away in case you lost your job and found yourself without benefits or if you need to find a more suitable health insurance plan that fit your individual needs.

The pandemic affected many economically either by losing their job (temporarily furloughed – or permanently) or it caused loss of business in the case of business owners or for people who are self-employed. It has been difficult and massive, and you are not alone: there are many of us in your same situation and we will get through this! In the first four months of the pandemic 15.9 million employees lost their jobs to COVID and an estimated 7.7 million employees not only lost their jobs but also lost benefits, including health insurance. These 7.7 million people have 6.9 million dependents so we can estimate that 14.6 million people have been affected by being laid off or suffering furlough. (Source:

These alarming numbers do not include some of us that are small business owners who were forced to drastically reduce our operations due to the loss of business. My husband and I have run a small digital marketing agency for 11 years. Although the marketing industry is not in the top five industries that suffered unemployment the most, the retail/fashion and hospitality industries are two of the most affected industries which represented the majority of our clients in the agency.

When the pandemic started, we were able to maintain the team as much as we could : 1, 2, 3 months … until we couldn’t afford it anymore! We were forced (in May) to reduce the staff from 12 people to just two people …my husband and me! It was one of the most difficult and painful decisions we have made in our career. Saying goodbye to people who had worked so hard to help us build the agency and had also become family was difficult. Not only that, but we also closed our physical office: an office full of desks, two beautiful conference rooms where we had many celebrations, where we grew personally and professionally while creating beautiful memories with our “Family”.

It was not easy at all! But we needed to do what was best to protect our four kids, our Family. We made many decisions, one of them was to re-evaluate and then change the health insurance plan we had. We had a group plan with our employees and now we had to take an individual plan that would fit our needs. We were overwhelmed with stress and nostalgia and needed guidance , we needed to understand our options in order to better choose among the different health insurance options on the market.

We discovered and it was wonderful as it guided us step by step in a simple manner evaluating the options we had for our primary, vision and dental coverage. It felt so good to know that we were able get through the process by ourselves without having to go through a broker.

It took us some time to analyze everything and make the final decision but we felt confident choosing the plan that best suited us.

If you are in a situation similar to ours a few months ago, act now! Visit to get the best insurance plan that will give you peace of mind knowing that you and your entire family are covered. Everything will be ok, you are not alone!

Get the information you need.

Download this helpful guide about the types of coverage available and things you should consider when choosing coverage.

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