Today, Covered California announced the insurance companies, plans and rates that will be offered through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). Small business owners may start enrolling in these newly announced SHOP plans when the health exchange is officially open for enrollment Oct. 1 and the coverage will take effect Jan. 1, 2014.
While rates vary by region, at first look, small business leaders are responding positively to the choices offered in SHOP, with pricing comparable to 2013 small group market rates, and, in some cases, what’s offered to large businesses. Also, freedom of plan choice is available to both employers and employees.
Covered California will offer health insurance to small business through the following carriers:
- Blue Shield of California
- Chinese Community Health Plan
- Health Net
- Kaiser Permanente
- Sharp Health Plan
- Western Health Advantage
More information about these carriers and plans can be found in the Covered California SHOP booklet.
All plans participating in the exchange must offer 10 “essential benefits” required by the federal health reform law and must accept anyone who applies, regardless of pre-existing health conditions. Additionally, through SHOP, small businesses will, for the first time, be able to make apples-to-apples comparisons among the plans because their benefits will be standardized.
SHOP also will handle administrative tasks that come with purchasing coverage, such as premium collection, enrollment and plan payments. The SHOP will provide small business owners with a single, consolidated bill to help minimize the time and paperwork employers often face when providing health coverage for their employees.
Prices will vary based on a plan’s networks of doctors and hospitals, its strategies for dealing with prevention and chronic illness and their administrative costs and profit.
For more information, go online at coveredca.com/small_businesses.