Are you having a hard time keeping up to date on what’s happening regarding all these recent health care reform changes? If you’re an employer with less than 50 employees, you won’t be able to enroll online in the Affordable Care Act’s new health insurance exchanges for at least another 11 months. The Obama administration recently delayed online access to the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) until at least November 2014. This delay only affects small employers in the 36 states that do not have state-run health exchanges. It does not change the small business options in the 14 states and the District of Columbia that are running their own exchanges.
SHOP is intended to provide companies with fewer than 50 full-time employees the opportunity to compare insurance options and register for coverage for themselves and their employees on the Internet.
However, business owners may continue to sign up for SHOP through paper or phone applications, as they have been since October 1. They will also be able to shop for plans on healthcare.gov, but they won’t be able to sign up their employees using the system.
This is the second delay for the SHOP program – back in April of 2013, the government announced that small businesses would be able to enroll on SHOP but they wouldn’t be able to choose more than one plan until 2015. Instead, the businesses would choose one plan for all of their employees, which was the case for most small businesses before the SHOP launched.
Small businesses interested in buying marketplace health insurance plans for their workers will have to purchase them from agents, brokers or insurance companies for the next year, rather than through the government website. Many smaller businesses that provide health care for their employees already use brokers, agents or a PEO to shop for employee benefits.
FrankCrum is monitoring all developments related to health care reform and will continue to update you on this topic. We are here to keep you up to date and support any of your SHOP needs. Our clients and their employees have access to group health benefits through Aetna, a national top carrier. FrankCrum offers multiple health plans, dental plans, 401(k) and more. It’s just one way we help ease the burden of being an employer. Find out more by clicking here.