The Obama Administration, late this afternoon, announced yet another delay in an important part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. This one involves small businesses. This part of the government insurance marketplace — known as the Small Business Health Options Program, or SHOP — was seen as one of the main benefits of Obamacare. Recent revelations regarding problems getting healthcare.gov up and operating directly contributed to this delay.
“We plan to offer online enrollment capability by November 2014, for coverage that takes effect in January 2015,” the Department of Health and Human Services said in a series of questions and answers. The administration had previously delayed online enrollment for small businesses, scheduled to start on Oct. 1, until the end of this month. This insurance marketplace — known as the Small Business Health Options Program, or SHOP — was seen as one of the main benefits of the new law” HHS
The announcement of the delay, just before Thanksgiving, is reminiscent of the way the White House announced, just before the Independence Day weekend, a one-year delay in the requirement for larger employers to offer health insurance to employees.
This is important news for trade associations, especially those with whom we are already working to establish private, association-based marketplaces to serve their members health insurance and employee benefits needs. With the federal program in disarray, trade associations can step up and provide critically important health insurance and employee benefits programs through their own private marketplaces.
- My former association’s marketplace is open now at www.cemamarket.com 580 members, 13,000 employees and a total of 30,000 employees and dependents will find health, life, dental and a wide variety of other employee benefits all in one safe, convenient place for their members to use with the help of licensed insurance professionals.
- Another example is with the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Connecticut http://www.hbractmarketplace.com/ to open next month.
- Regardless of what happens among carriers or from government – our association marketplaces will always have benefits, carriers, and plans to offer to members all the time.
- Our marketplaces work, and are based on technology that has proven itself for more than a decade.
- Our marketplaces are built to serve any company, but focus on the small businesses that comprise 95% of association membership – as these companies would never see the kind of range of benefits choices, carrier choices or plan choices without this marketplace offered by their association.
- None of your local brokers lose anything from your association having its own marketplace. In fact, we want your local brokers serving your members needs in your marketplace.
We’re already working with eight other trade groups to open these private, association-based marketplaces to serve their members. There are many great reasons why these association marketplaces have advantages over buying coverage one member at a time outside the association and even better reasons why an association marketplace has advantages over government run exchanges.