Obamacare Delays for Small Businesses
Small business owners are the latest victims of recent changes to the time constraints and provisions of Obamacare. Although others have certainly encountered problems with the implementation of this new healthcare directive, it seems that small businesses have recently been dealt more than their fair share of stumbling blocks. Obamacare delays for small businesses:
- According to a recent directive from the U.S Health and Human Services Department, small businesses will currently have to sign up for Obamacare via snail mail or fax. Although they had been reassured otherwise, they have been told that they will not be given the capability to enroll online until at least November. This delay was recently approved by the Obama administration.
- Another press release from the Department of Health and Human Services announced that the functioning of the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) will be limited for at least the next month. During this time, employers will be able to see outlines of the various health insurance plans but will not be able to see certain details such as estimates of premium costs. The SHOP Program is meant to simplify the employer’s task of shopping for employee health insurance by providing a single website for employers to compare related health policies. According to the recent announcement, “all functions” of the site should be available for use sometime in November.
- In addition, businesses will not be eligible to enroll in plans through the exchanges until at least November. This delay means that they will not be eligible to receive the accompanying federal tax credits as well.
Although officials in the Obama administration have offered no specific explanation for the recent delays, they have issued a statement saying that they want to make sure the exchanges are functioning properly before they are put to full use. It is important to note that the changes and postponements described above only affect small business exchanges and do not apply to exchanges for individuals.
The interruptions described above are only the most recent in a sequence of events distressing the implementation of Obamacare for small businesses. In April, the government decided to reduce the number of choices offered through the SHOP exchanges. Moreover, businesses that use this program in 2014 will be limited to choosing a single plan to cover all of their employees. It will be 2015 before they are given the option of putting employees on different plans. In addition, as of July, the administration pushed back the employer mandate for providing health insurance for its employees. Before July, companies with a minimum of 50 full time employees had been mandated to start providing coverage in 2014 or face penalties. That deadline has now been extended to 2015.
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