SHOP PROGRAM ENROLLMENT DELAYED UNTIL NOVEMBER
Covered California also announced Tuesday that small-business owners will be able to purchase coverage through the Small Business Health Options Program, or SHOP, beginning in November. This is a delay from the planned Oct. 1 launch of the program. Coverage for both individual and SHOP plans purchased through Covered California begins Jan. 1, 2014.
Oct. 1 also marked the deadline for employee notification. New employees should be notified of their health coverage options within 14 days of hire. The necessary forms can be found at www.calrest.org/notify.
SHOP is an online marketplace for small business owners to enroll in coverage for their employees. While the business owners are able to begin their applications, they will not be able to enroll online until Nov. 1. According to the Washington Post, applications will still be taken by phone or mail.
The SHOP exchange is specifically designed for small businesses with 50 or fewer eligible employees to find coverage programs from insurers. Businesses with 25 or fewer employees will also be able to find information on applicable tax credits that can be redeemed when providing employee health coverage. Details about these credits are available on the SHOP portal of www.CoveredCA.com.
Businesses will not be penalized for not providing coverage until 2015, due to a decision to delay the penalty portion of the Affordable Care Act by the Treasury Department announced in July. However, the requirement for individual coverage begins Jan. 1, 2014.
Restaurateurs seeking more information on plan options and their responsibilities can visit www.CoveredCA for fact sheets on coverage and credits, as well FAQs.