Online Healthcare Enrollment for Small Business Delayed by One Year
Last Wednesday, the White House delayed the launch of its online small business marketplace by one year. Companies with fewer than 50 employees were slated to begin buying coverage through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), an online federal exchange, this month. Agency officials said the latest delay reflected the Administration’s priority on getting the HealthCare.gov website to work for individual customers.
Small employers will have a new tool to browse plan options on HealthCare.gov starting Dec. 1, but they won’t be able to buy plans online until November 2014, officials said. At that point, employers will be able to select multiple plans through the website and give employees the option of choosing among them. For now, officials said they were encouraging owners to work through insurance brokers or agents. Those who buy qualifying coverage through an agent may be eligible for tax credits under the Affordable Care Act. States offering SHOP coverage through their own state-based exchanges are not affected by last Wednesday’s announcement.