ACA Shop talk

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The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP)
is designed to assist small businesses buy affordable
health insurance. The launch of the SHOP website has
been delayed for one year -- this is only a delay for online
enrollment.

Delay in Online Enrollment

When the federal Exchange was launched on October

1, 2013, online enrollment in the federal SHOP was not

available and employers were encouraged to submit paper

applications, with the promise that online enrollment would be

available later in the Fall. On November 27, 2013, the Obama

administration said that online enrollment in the federal

SHOP exchange will not be available until the 2015 open

enrollment period in November 2014. This latest delay only

applies to the federally run SHOP exchanges. States, such as

New York, that operate their own Exchanges will still be able

to offer online enrollment.

What does this Mean for Employers?

 

Rather than enrolling in the federal SHOP online, small

employers will enroll through an agent or broker, or directly

with an insurer. Agents and brokers will help employers fill

out paper applications for SHOP coverage that will be sent

to the federal Exchange. For your convenience, a fillable

PDF of the SHOP Paper Application for Employers can be

found at http://www.emersonreid.com/docs/Shop-Paper-

Application-Employers.pdf. Once the paper application has

been sent, employers are not required to wait to hear back

before beginning to enroll employees. The application is

only needed to qualify for a Small Business Health Care Tax

Credit. Employers can also fill out their own applications. For

additional information on this “direct enrollment process,” visit

the FAQs at http://marketplace.cms.gov/getofficialresources/

publications-and-articles/faqs-on-shop-enrollment.pdf.

Small Business Health Care Tax Credit

Small employers that qualify may be able to receive tax

credits worth up to 50% of their premium costs. Beginning in

2014, the tax credits are only available for plans purchased

through the SHOP. In order to receive the credits, employers

must receive an eligibility determination from the SHOP. The

SHOP will provide an eligibility notification within 3-5 days of

receiving a fully completed application.

To be eligible for the tax credits, in general, employers must:

• cover at least 50% of the cost of single healthcare

coverage for each of their employees;

• have fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees

(FTEs); and

• have employees with average wages of less than $50,000.

 

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