While U.S. small-business owners are evaluating their year-end business performance and defining objectives for next year, they should also examine how their existing benefits programs take care of primary financial concerns, especially as managing health care costs is the most important human resources issue for small businesses, according to the 2012 Aflac WorkForces Report.

"Small businesses are at the heart of the American dream and the engine of U.S. economic growth," says Paul S. Amos II, president and chief operating officer for Aflac U.S. "Yet the 2012 Aflac WorkForces Report reveals that 55 percent of small businesses find it challenging to provide robust benefits while staying within tight budget constraints. We know that small-business owners juggle many responsibilities, including taking care of their employees – often with little or no human resources expertise. The challenge comes down to company resources, including what's available to business owners to provide benefits and communicate with employees about their options and how they can best use benefits to improve their health and well-being."

According to another annual small-business owner survey by the National Federation of Independent Business, health insurances costs ranks as small businesses' top concern, as noted by 52 percent of respondents. This means small-business owners and benefits decision makers must find creative solutions for short- and long-term cost advantages.

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