White House Delays Online SHOP Enrollment Again

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Late last week, the White House announced that it was delaying by one year online enrollment in the federally operated Small Business Health Options (SHOP) health insurance exchanges. Online enrollment for the federal SHOP exchanges will not be available until November 2014, as reported by the Washington Post.

Small business owners will still have the opportunity to purchase small business insurance plans through a broker or agent who can assist with a paper filing. These applications will be processed in three to five days, according to the federal government.

This marks the third time in two months that the White House has delayed online enrollment in the SHOP exchanges. In late September, online enrollment had been pushed back until November 1. Then in late October, it had been delayed until December 1.

Administration officials said they decided to delay online enrollment in an effort to prioritize shoring up the individual health exchanges. “What’s important in our work is to continue to prioritize the best consumer experience for those who are coming to us online,” Medicare spokeswoman Julie Bataille told the Post. “These decisions all reflect [that] reality.”

State-run exchanges may be accepting SHOP online applications at this time, however.  In September, Maryland announced it has delayed enrollment for its small-business exchange until January 2014, and that coverage under the plans offered in its exchange will not begin until March 2014 at the earliest.

To find out if your state has a state-run or federally run health insurance exchange, and for other key details about health care reform, go to ABA’s new health care reform advocacy page, or contact ABA Senior Public Policy Analyst David Grogan at (800) 637-0037, ext. 7562 or via e-mail.