Tag Archives: SHOP

The SHOP is Underperforming

The Washington Post (11/13, Harrison) reports that enrollment on the ACA’s new small-business health insurance marketplaces “has fallen well short of the administration’s expectations,” according to a Government Accountability Report released Thursday. The GAO examined enrollment totals for SHOP exchanges in the 18 states that built their own portals, finding that fewer than 12,000 small businesses signed up for plans during the first eight months. Though the Obama Administration “did not set SHOP-specific goals, the federal watchdog said that number was ‘significantly lower than expected.’” The GAO noted that enrollment numbers for the Federally-administered small-business marketplaces won’t be available from the CMS until next year.

The Washington Times (11/13, Howell) explains that the “Small Business Health Options Programs (SHOPs) were designed to let businesses with 100 or fewer employees — 50 or fewer in some states — buy plans in a special exchange set up just for them, and take advantage of a tax credit for covering their workers.” The Times adds that the GAO report comes just days after the Administration “dramatically scaled back expectations for participation in Obamacare’s individual markets.”

The AP (11/14, Murphy) reports that about 76,000 small business employees “had purchased coverage on 18 exchanges through June 1,” according to the GAO. That figure is “far short of the 2 million workers who were expected to sign up this year.”

The Hill (11/14, Ferris) adds that House Small Business Committee Chair Sam Graves (R-MO), who requested the report, “said Thursday that the data demonstrates the law’s failure for small-business owners and workers.”

Also covering the story are the Business Journals (11/14, Hoover), CNBC (11/13, Mangan), and the Daily Caller (11/14, Hurtubise).

Jeffrey R. Ungvary President

Jeffrey R. Ungvary

 

 

The SHOP Falls Short on Enrollments

Remember those “other” new Obamacare exchanges—the ones that small businesses were supposed to use to sign up workers for health insurance?

Yeah, well, apparently a whole bunch of small businesses forgot about them, too.

A new Government Accountability Office report finds that a stunningly low number of workers have enrolled in insurance plans sold on small-business health exchanges run by federal and state governments.

The report suggests that the Small Business Health Options Program exchanges will fall well short of the 2 million people that had been projected to sign up by January.

As of last summer, only about 76,000 people working for about 12,000 employers had enrolled in insurance plans sold by 18 state-run SHOP exchanges, according to the GAO report released Thursday.

While the other 33 SHOP exchanges run by the federal government didn’t have enrollment data available for the GAO, officials in charge of them “do not expect major differences in enrollment trends between” the state-run SHOP exchanges and their federally run counterparts, the report noted. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service was still compiling enrollment data from insurers and did not expect complete numbers until early 2015, the GAO said.

Obamacare’s small business health marketplaces are likely to fall well short of the 2 million enrollees projected for 2014, a GAO report suggests.

The SHOP exchanges are supposed to help small employees provide group health coverage to their workers. But most such employers clearly haven’t bothered to take the exchanges up on that offer, or aren’t aware that it’s available, raising questions about whether these exchanges can get close to the 4 million enrollees that had been projected by 2017.

One state-run SHOP—Mississippi’s—had just one person enrolled, the GAO report said. Washington state had the second-lowest enrollment with 42 people.

Two population-heavy states, California and New York, had just 9,563 and 10,023 people enrolled, respectively, in their SHOP exchanges during their first year of operation.

Vermont, the second-least populous state, had by far, the highest enrollments in a state-run SHOP: 33,696 people. That represents 44 percent of all enrollees on the state-run SHOPs.

To read more, click here.

Jeffrey R. Ungvary President

Jeffrey R. Ungvary

 

Small Businesses Sending Employees to The Exchange

Brian Adams, who sells fireplaces in Indianapolis, is like many of the nation’s small-business owners. As the cost of providing health benefits has climbed, he has struggled to afford coverage for his employees — a problem the new health care law was designed, in part, to address.

But a year after the law’s introduction of the insurance exchanges, provisions that were supposed to help small businesses offer employee health benefits are largely seen as a failure. And Mr. Adams, like many of his fellow business owners, is sending employees to the exchanges to buy their own coverage instead.

Nancy Smith, who runs the Great Arizona Puppet Theater in Phoenix, made a similar decision. Her business employs only a handful of people who need insurance, and she was able to offer only plans with high deductibles. She and her employees decided buying individual policies made the most sense.

“Everyone wanted to do it because our costs were too high,” she said.

Most of the focus on the Affordable Care Act has been on whether individuals can find affordable coverage through the online marketplaces. But the law also had the goal of creating a robust insurance market for small businesses by making tax credits available to businesses that provide coverage and creating small-business exchanges where companies could more easily find low-cost plans.

The small-business exchanges were barely functional in most states last year, and it remains to be seen whether the Obama administration will manage to stop the steady decline in the number of employers offering coverage to their workers. The administration is poised to try again when open enrollment begins on Nov. 15.

Federal officials say they do not know how many small businesses signed up for coverage in the small-business exchanges, but the numbers are likely to be very small. In California, for example, only 12,000 people were enrolled through the state’s small-business exchange, compared with more than a million who enrolled as individuals there. To date, few businesses have availed themselves of the tax credits available for purchasing coverage for low-wage workers.

To read more, click here.

Jeffrey R. Ungvary President

Jeffrey R. Ungvary

Obamacare Deadline and The SHOP

Leading news stories this week focus on Obamacare enrollment reaching their 6 million mark and extending enrollment for those who began the process. However some states like New York have set a hard deadline for March 31st. To read more, click here.

Also reaching headlines is the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). Business with 50 or fewer employees may purchase private health insurance for their employees, and employers with fewer than 25 employee and lower-wage workforces earn a tax credit for doing so. Read more about the shop here.

Jeffrey R. Ungvary

President

Jeffrey R. Ungvary