November 28th, 2013
On November 27, 2013, just as the nation headed out for the holiday, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that online enrollment in the federal SHOP exchange for small businesses would not be available until the 2015 open enrollment period in November of 2014. It also released a set of questions and answers as to how the federal SHOP would function in the interim. It is important to understand that this is not a delay of the federal SHOP exchange itself, but rather of one SHOP exchange functionality, albeit an important one.
States that operate their own exchanges (including Utah which only operates a SHOP exchange) will be able to offer online enrollment, but in some of them the SHOP exchange is not yet functional or does not offer coverage through the entire state.
The idea of the SHOP exchange actually predates the ACA, originating in bipartisan legislation proposed by moderate Republicans and Democrats at least as early as 2008. As the idea was finalized in the Affordable Care Act, the SHOP exchange was intended to allow “qualified employers,” that is small employers with between 1 and 100 employees (or, at a state’s option, 1 to 50 employees), to purchase qualified health plans for their employees.Read the rest of this entry »