Administration Delays Health Law Provision For Small Businesses

The Small Business Health Options Program, or SHOP, would have provided a variety of insurance options for small firms. When the law takes effect next year in states with federally run exchanges, these businesses will be able to offer workers a single plan instead.

The New York Times: Small Firms' Offer Of Plan Choices Under Health Law Delayed
Unable to meet tight deadlines in the new health care law, the Obama administration is delaying parts of a program intended to provide affordable health insurance to small businesses and their employees — a major selling point for the health care legislation. The law calls for a new insurance marketplace specifically for small businesses, starting next year. But in most states, employers will not be able to get what Congress intended: the option to provide workers with a choice of health plans. They will instead be limited to a single plan (Pear, 4/1).

The Wall Street Journal: Small-Business Insurance-Shopping Feature Is Delayed
The Obama administration plans to delay a piece of the federal health law designed to help small businesses shop for insurance policies, citing the need for additional time to prepare. The Small Business Health Options Program, or SHOP, is supposed to provide small employers with an insurance marketplace, or exchange, that offers multiple plan options starting in 2014. But the Department of Health and Human Services has proposed that for the first year, businesses that use the 33 state exchanges run fully or in part by the U.S. will be able to offer only one plan to their workers, rather than pick from a range of options. Washington officials said the 17 states running their own exchanges under the law could choose to enact a similar delay for 2014 (Needleman and Radnofsky, 4/1).

USA Today: Feds Delay Small Business Health Care Program
Small businesses may not have an insurance market set up specifically for them when the state and federal health exchanges begin in January, government officials said Monday. Instead, the federal government announced that the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) will be delayed until 2015. Small business employees will still be able to get insurance, but the states have the option to limit that to one choice, rather than a variety of plans, for the first year (Kennedy, 4/1).

Bloomberg: Small-Business Insurance Market From Health Law Delayed A Year
Small-business employees will have to wait a year before they can choose their own medical plans after the Obama administration delayed a part of the 2010 U.S. health-care law intended to provide them with coverage options. Starting in 2014, workers at companies with fewer than 100 employees were supposed to have been able to choose from a variety of health plans through new small-business insurance marketplaces. They'll instead wait until at least 2015, according to regulations released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Armstrong, 4/2).

Meanwhile, a consumer columnist examines some other exchange issues.

Kaiser Health News: Insuring Your Health: Despite Fears Of 'Sticker Shock,' Young Adults Should Have Reasonable Plan Options On Exchanges
Kaiser Health News consumer columnist Michelle Andrews answers readers' questions about the new marketplaces where consumers can buy 2014 health policies as part of the federal health law. (Andrews, 4/2).

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