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Delays with the SHOP Exchange

April 05 - Posted at 2:01 PM Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Released 4/2/13, the Obama Administration is delaying a key portion of the federally-run SHOP Marketplace, in which small businesses can offer a choice of health plans to their employees through the public marketplace. As a result, small businesses will be limited to offering a single plan through the federally-run SHOP Marketplace until 2015.


The multi-place choice option was supposed to become available to small employers via the federally-run SHOP Marketplace in January 2014. But administration officials said they would delay it until 2015 in the 33 states where the federal government will be running the SHOP insurance marketplaces.


Many feel this delay will “prolong and exacerbate healthcare costs that are crippling 29 million small businesses” according to a recent NY Times article.


What is the SHOP Marketplace?


As part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), states are required to provide a Group Market Health Insurance Exchange for businesses (called the Small Business Health Options Program or “SHOP”). The SHOP Marketplace is essentially a public group health insurance exchange that will be available for small businesses starting January 1, 2014. The new program was designed to simplify the process of finding health insurance for small businesses and applying any applicable tax credits that an individual may qualify for.


As with the individual health insurance marketplace, all states have three options for offering a SHOP marketplace: (1) create their own state-run marketplace, (2) join a federal-state partnership, or (3) default to the federally-run SHOP marketplace. As mentioned above, 33 states are expected to default to the federally-run marketplace.


Initially, the SHOP marketplaces are for businesses with up to 100 employees. However, states can limit participation to businesses with up to 50 employees until 2016, so eligibility will ultimately vary from state to state.

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