Five states to be given early access to SHOP exchanges

September 9, 2014

Five states–Delaware, Illinois, Ohio, Missouri and New Jersey–will be given early access to the Small Business Health Options (SHOP) website that will allow employers to search for and offer healthcare plans to employees, according to the Washington Post.

Five states–Delaware, Illinois, Ohio, Missouri and New Jersey–will be given early access to the Small Business Health Options (SHOP) website that will allow employers to search for and offer healthcare plans to employees, according to the Washington Post.

The controlled launch will allow the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to detect and fix problems in advance of a full-scale launch on November 15.

SHOP is the small-business portal created under the Affordable Care Act. It was supposed to launch in 2013 but was delayed as HHS grappled with a host of access and data problems with the consumer exchanges.

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The SHOP marketplace will be open to employers with 50 or fewer full-time-equivalent employees in 2014, according to HHS. Businesses with 25 employees or fewer are eligible for a tax credit.

In late October, small businesses in the five designated states will be able to create a business account on healthcare.gov, select an agent or broker, check eligibility for plans, and upload employee information, says the Post. In November, plans and prices will become available. 

Access for all states that will use the federal Healthcare.gov network will be made available on November 15. The Healthcare.gov portal will contain information on those states running their own exchanges, says HHS.

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