Small businesses across the U.S. are scrambling to figure out what Obamacare means for them and whether they should buy health coverage through their state-run exchange starting in 2014. But there's a problem: Some exchanges will offer few—or no—insurance choices for small employers.
Washington state’s exchange announced earlier this week that only one insurance carrier has signed up to provide health insurance to small businesses, and it will only do so in a few counties. In North Carolina, only two insurance carriers will offer insurance to small groups.
The lack of insurers willing to participate in the exchanges will make it very difficult for small businesses in those states to claim the federal tax credits they are supposed to receive by buying health insurance through the exchange.
The bad news from some exchanges comes on the heels of news that part of the federal Small Business Health Options Program—SHOP—will be delayed until 2015.
Despite the warnings about lack of options in a few states, others say they’re in good shape to help small businesses. California officials, for example, recently said insurance through their exchange will be competitively priced. In Minnesota, nine insurers have signed up to offer plans to small businesses through the exchange.
Want to find out what’s happening with the exchange in your state? The Kaiser Family Foundation provides a helpful state-by-state breakdown.
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