In an effort to further curb the problems associated with the federal health exchange website Healthcare.gov, the Obama administration is scheduled to announce a one-year delay of online health exchange services for small businesses, The Wire reports. Small businesses — the designation which constitutes businesses with saffs of 50 employees or less — have not been able to purchase health insurance for their employees through Healthcare.gov the same way individuals have since the site went live on October 1st. They have, however, been able to apply through paper applications.
Under the provisions of the new delay, small business owners are still able to apply for health insurance via paper applications. Essentially nothing has changed, just that the online applications for small business owners have been delayed much longer.
Politico published a note from the Department of Health and Human Services detailing the branch’s reasoning for delaying the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). “We’ve concluded that we can best serve small employers by continuing this offline process while we concentrate on both creating a smoothly functioning online experience int he SHOP Marketplace, and adding key new features, including an employee choice option and premium aggregation services, by November 2014,” the note reads.
Since there have been numerous issues and delays with the application process for individuals, the delay of the small business marketplace is likely a step towards easing Healthcare.gov back to practical working status.