HHS delays implementation of employee choice of quality health plans for small businesses

The Department of Health and Human Services proposed a rule to delay the implementation of employee choice of quality health plans in small businesses until 2015.

Comments received on the proposed rule released in December 2012 for 2014 revealed several concerns to the ruling. These concerns included whether issuers could meet the deadlines for submission of small group market quality health plans given the new small group market rating rules; whether issuers could complete enrollment and accounting system changes required to interact with the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) enrollment and premium aggregation systems required by employee choice; and whether there would be adequate time to educate employers, employees and brokers about the employer and employee choices available in the SHOP.

According to a HHS news release, the proposed amendments to the rule include the following:

  • The effective date of the employer choice requirements and the premium aggregation requirements for both state-based SHOPs and FF-SHOPs will be Jan. 1, 2015;
  • State-based SHOPs could elect to offer employee choice and perform premium aggregation for plan years beginning before Jan. 1, 2015, but need not do so; and
  • FF-SHOPs will begin to offer employee choice and premium aggregation in plan years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2015.



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