Early Access to Federal Small Business Health Insurance Exchange

Naperville small business law attorney, small business owners, Gierach Law Firm, health coverage options, health insurance process, small business health insuranceSince the rollout out of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), small business owners have been concerned about how the new law may increase their companies’ operating expenses and infringe on the ability to provide quality health insurance to employees. However, small business employers in Illinois may finally be able to take a sigh of relief. It was recently announced that small business employers in Illinois, along with Missouri, Ohio, New Jersey and Delaware, will be eligible to create accounts with the federal government’s Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP).

SHOP will allow these five states to get a jump start on considering the different 2015 health insurance plans that are available to small business employers. This privilege will allow small business employers in the five chosen states to review the new insurance plans three weeks before the rest of the country. However, this privilege is only extended to small business owners having 50 or fewer full-time employees. The stated goal of SHOP is to focus on “implementing the [small business marketplace] in a way that best serves the interests of small employers and their employees.”

The SHOP Exchange Health Insurance Program for Small Employers

The U.S. federal Health and Human Services Department administers the SHOP exchange, and granted early access to Illinois and the other four states, in order to test the effectiveness of the new system before the full rollout of the exchange to the entire country. The Department also hopes to avoid the site crashes that plagued last year’s rollout of the ACA by providing gradual access to the SHOP website.

Open enrollment for SHOP is between November 15, 2014 and February 15, 2015. On the ACA HealthCare.gov website, an Illinois small business portal will be hosted. It is believed that a successful SHOP program will provide significant benefits to small business owners, insurance brokers and employees. The SHOP exchange will allow all of these parties to create online profiles and easily submit and provide authorization from employer clients that can be submitted before open enrollment of the small business health insurance exchange.

The Get Covered Illinois Program

Get Covered Illinois is the initiative that is attempting to get health insurance information out to employers and employees in the state. The goal of Get Covered Illinois is the dissemination of information regarding the provisions of the ACA, and how health insurance can be procured from the online federal health insurance exchange. The Get Covered Illinois website provides assistance with:

  • Finding the right exchange to receive the necessary health insurance;

  • Gaining more information about existing and new health coverage options and financial aid options;

  • Making the most beneficial health care decision for people and their families; and

  • Finding a specially trained counselor to assist in the health insurance process.

The rollout of the ACA got off to a bumpy start, but the federal government has been making extensive attempts to help the ACA gain more broad support throughout the country. The early rollout of the SHOP exchange in Illinois may provide small business owners with the assistance they need to find affordable health care insurance for their employees. Contact the Naperville small business law attorneys at the Gierach Law Firm for business law-related legal assistance.