Obama Administration: Small Business Insurance Marketplace Delayed

Small businesses hoping to comparison shop for budget-friendly health-insurance policies will have to wait until 2015.

The Obama administration intends to push back a part of the Affordable Care Act – the Small Business Health Options Program, or SHOP – that would provide small businesses with an insurance marketplace offering numerous plan options.

“They’ll have only one insurance plan for small businesses if they want to go through the federal exchange,” says DJ Jordan, the House Small Business Committee spokesman. SHOP was supposed to begin in 2014. The committee says that Washington officials have indicated that the 17 states running their own exchanges could delay their plans under the law.

“It was advertised as a great marketplace with so much competition that prices would be lower and more affordable,” says Jordan. “Our concern – and Chairman Sam Graves’ concern – is that if there’s no competition, does that mean that the premiums will be more expensive?”

Jordan says that there are no details about what the single plan will offer, and “no communication about what caused the delay.” The House Small Business Committee has issued a formal request for more information regarding the reasons behind the delay, with April 22 as a deadline for a response.