Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Small Business Health Options Program Update

By Dana Halvorson

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 known as the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP).  SHOP, a program created in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), is a new way for small businesses to buy health insurance for their employees.  Starting in 2014, small businesses with generally up to 50 employees will have access to the new health care insurance marketplaces through the SHOP.  In 2016, employers with up to 100 employees will be able to participate in SHOP.  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, 9am to 7pm 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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