California's Small Business Insurance Exchange Opens For Business

Even though the federal government announced last week that it would delay the federal small business online marketplace, California's began operating on Monday for businesses with as many as 50 employees.  

Los Angeles Times: State Health Insurance Exchange Aims To Enroll 7,000 Small Firms
Trying to stem a steady erosion in employer health coverage, California's insurance exchange said it's looking to enroll 7,000 small businesses next year as part of the federal healthcare law. At an event in Los Angeles on Monday, officials with Covered California said their online marketplace for small firms is fully operational and that more than 1,500 businesses had already created shopping accounts on the state website (Terhune, 12/2).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: California's Small Business Insurance SHOP Opens, A Contrast To Feds
Many companies will be able to receive a tax credit, meaning the federal government will help cover their portion of the employee premiums. To be eligible for tax credits, businesses must have fewer than 25 full-time employees, pay employees less than $50,000 a year and cover at least half of the full-time employees’ premiums (Gorman, 12/2).

And, in related news -

Los Angeles Times: California's Health Insurance Exchange: 5 Things To Watch In December
Like many retailers, California's health insurance exchange is banking on a rush of December shoppers. California has already signed up nearly 80,000 people in private health plans and 135,000 more in Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program. But crunch time starts now as deadlines approach. People have until Dec. 23 to sign up for coverage that takes effect Jan. 1. Open enrollment runs through March (Terhune, 12/2).

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