Many small businesses are looking forward to the new health insurance exchanges that will allow them to shop around for plans. However, the Government Accountability Office recently announced that there is a chance that the October deadline for completion on this project will be missed. So far, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has given conditional approval to 18 states to run their own Small-Business Health Options Programs (SHOPs), and 17 states have approval to run exchange programs for individuals.
While progress has been made on some levels, the insurance exchanges are still behind in several areas, such as schedule in enrollment, plan management and consumer assistance. In particular, the program that educates small-business owners and their employees on how to enroll in the exchanges is two months behind schedule. Deadlines continue to be pushed back as the Obama Administration requested more time for states to set up multiple health-insurance coverage back in April. As a result, in 2014, states would be required to have only a single health-insurance option ready on the SHOPs.
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