‘The Obama administration announced Wednesday it would delay a significant piece of the health-care law: the online small business insurance marketplace.
The Small Business Health Options Program, known as the SHOP exchange, will not offer online enrollment until November 2014, a one-year delay from a launch that was initially planned for this past October.
Administration officials characterized the decision as one made necessary as they prioritized fixes to the individual health exchange, which the White House has promised will "work smoothly for the vast majority of users" by Dec. 1.’
‘The federal delay effects the 36 states where the federal government is running the health insurance exchange. It does not change the small business options in the 14 states and the District of Columbia that are running their own exchanges.
The White House announced last April a one-year delay to the "consumer choice" function in the SHOP exchange, which would allow each employee to pick their own insurance plan, pushing that functionality back until the 2015 open enrollment season.
That delay was followed with another setback in September when the White House announced that online shopping in the small business exchange would not be available when open enrollment started in October.
Under the new Obama administration proposal, small businesses will now have to "go directly to an agent, broker or to an insurance company with plans certified by the Marketplace," the Q&A document states. "The insurer must agree to offer direct enrollment in SHOP coverage and to conduct enrollment according to HHS requirements." ‘ - Obamacare’s online SHOP enrollment delayed by one year, 11/27/2013, Washington Post
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Related story: Small business Obamacare online enrollment delayed a year, Politico, 11/27/2013