Late Friday afternoon, the Obama Administration released applications for small businesses and their employees to use when applying for health coverage within the new federal Small Business Health Option (SHOP) exchanges.
In addition, as indicated in previous draft regulations, the “employee choice” model within the federal SHOP exchanges has been officially delayed until 2015.
The applications and regulations were issued as part of the continuing implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).
The Administration released separate forms for employers and employees to fill out when applying for coverage through the SHOP, beginning with open enrollment Jan.1, 2013. Several times throughout the document, applicants are encouraged to reach out to a broker with questions.
Eventually, a 1-800 number will be listed (to go along with information on the exchange website) with contact information for local producers (obtained during the producer registration/training process). The employer form stipulates that if a small business uses a broker, the form must be filled out online at healthcare.gov.
In addition, the regulations confirm previous draft rules that, in 2014, employers will only be allowed to pick one plan on the federal exchange for employee enrollment. In 2015 and beyond, the Administration’s current plan is to move to full implementation of the “employee choice” model, where employees will be able to choose from a full range of plans on the federal SHOP exchange.
Ryan Young is Big “I” senior director of federal government affairs.