The small business health insurance program implemented by Obamacare has not proven to be a popular option. It was meant to increase insurance at companies who employ fewer than 50 people, but multiple factors are negatively impacting enrollment in the program, which is known as SHOP.
First, for states which rely on the federal marketplace, there is no website to compare plans. The announcement was made in November 2013 by the Department of Health and Human Services (or, HHS) that the SHOP website would not be functioning until November 2014. Instead, if a small business owner wants to provide a marketplace plan to employees in 2014, they must use “an agent, broker, or insurer that offers a certified SHOP plan and has agreed to conduct enrollment according to HHS standards.”
With the help of the agent or broker, small business owners fill out a paper application, to be sent to the SHOP Marketplace. The application is then reviewed and the employer is notified of their eligibility. Rather than take this route, many small business owners have chosen to renew existing plans for 2014.