The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it would delay again online enrollment in the federally-facilitated Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) until November 2014, a year later than expected. Instead, small businesses that wish to apply must continue to do so through an agent or broker or submit their enrollment applications via fax or mail. SHOP plans will still take effect January 1, 2014 as scheduled, providing coverage for an estimated two million people. The Administration previously announced in October a one month delay of online SHOP enrollment, but cited technical issues with the Healthcare.gov website as the reason for further delay.
If you're a small business with fewer than 50 employees, the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) might be an option for you. This is the business portal to the insurance exchanges. This exchange:
1. Allows you to get out of higher risk small insurance pools
2. Enables you to give out pre-tax payroll deductions to your employees
3. Allows you to set the contribution dial from 0 percent to 100 percent
Businesses that meet certain goals may also be entitled to a tax credit. No federal premium subsidies are available for SHOP participants. In a few years, companies with less than 100 employees will be allowed to use this option in Ohio. SHOP is best for businesses who have high group costs and whose employees are not eligible for subsidies.