Small businesses will have to comply with insurance provisions this year
This year, small businesses in the U.S. will have to comply with the insurance mandate provisions of the Affordable Care Act. The federal law requires employers to provide their workers with insurance coverage, but businesses with less than 50 full-time employees had been exempt from this provision for some time. The federal government had opted to exempt small businesses from the insurance mandate in order to provide them with more time to prepare themselves for the financial implications of the provision itself.
SHOP will open up to small businesses in November
On November 15 this year, small businesses will have to comply with the insurance mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act. The federal law has established the Small Business Health Option Program (SHOP), which acts as a health insurance exchange catering specifically to small businesses. The exchange will allow employers access to a wide range of insurance products that are likely to be less expensive than those that can be found through the private market. The exchange itself is structured in the same way as consumer exchanges, but will only sell policies to small businesses.
Some small businesses are concerned about the growing costs of health insurance coverage
Small businesses have expressed concerns regarding the costs they would face by complying with the Affordable Care Act. While many of these employers had offered health coverage to their workers in the past, the rising cost of insurance coverage has made it difficult for these companies to continue providing coverage to their employees. The federal government had allowed these companies to remain exempt from some of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, providing them with enough time to adequately prepare themselves financially.
Government aims to have a working insurance exchange in place for small businesses
The exemption was also beneficial for the government as well. It allowed the government enough time to build a working insurance exchange exclusively for small businesses. The government has taken lessons from its past efforts with state-based insurance exchanges, taking care to avoid some of the technical problems that had crippled these exchanges last year.