Small Business Committee Chair Expresses Concerns Over SHOP Delays

HHS announces one-year delay for SHOPs, severely limiting small business choices for health insurance.
President, Proximo, LLC
March 29, 2013

Elise Viebeck of TheHill.com reports that Representative Sam Graves of Missouri, Chairman of the House Small Business Committee, has called to task the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) for delaying certain parts of the healthcare reform law that benefits small businesses.

The concern is with the implementation of the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). SHOPs are basically health insurance exchanges designed for small businesses. The way SHOPs are supposed to work gives employers the ability to sign their companies up for certain benefit levels and then individual employees can choose from among different insurance options within those levels. This was supposed to be implemented on January 1, 2014 as part of the overall health insurance exchanges rollout.

But HHS announced that this would be delayed by one year. Instead, employees will only have the ability to enroll in a single SHOP plan for the first year. This arguably delays a key provision that could help small businesses manage their health insurance costs by an entire year. The delay is apparently due to difficulties in implementing the program.  

Graves is upset because the SHOP program is the vehicle that will theoretically provide more options and lower costs for small business health insurance. By delaying its implementation by a year, small businesses won’t see the promised benefits of healthcare reform on time.

[The Hill]

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President, Proximo, LLC