Monday, December 9, 2013

Further Clarification on Small Business Health Options Program

By Dana Halvorson

As you know from previous communications, the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) was created in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and is a new way for small businesses to buy health insurance for their employees. Last week, the Obama administration announced a yearlong online enrollment delay to November 2014 for small businesses looking to purchase health coverage through federal-run exchanges. All the federally facilitated exchanges are available for employers with less than 100 employees. The State exchanges are available to those employers with less than 50 employees, and there are 16 state exchanges and 35 federally facilitated exchanges. Small businesses have been able to apply for exchange coverage through paper applications since October 1. On November 27, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced additional ways for small employers to enroll in SHOP for 2014, including going through an agent, broker, or insurer that offers a certified SHOP plan and has agreed to conduct enrollment according to HHS standards. Employers that are eligible for SHOP can call the Health Insurance Marketplace Small Employer Call Center at 1-800-706-7893 to get general SHOP and small business questions answered by a customer service representative Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST. If you have any questions relating to the ACA, please submit them to insurancecoverage@ahca.org, and be sure to check out AHCA/NCAL’s ACA website.

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