Online Signup for Small Biz SHOP Exchanges Under Obamacare Delayed A Month

Obamacare employer mandate delay affects small businesses

Online signup for small business health insurance coverage under the U.S. Affordable Care Act has been delayed by one month.  However, paper applications mailed or faxed in, or phone sign-up, will be available by the October 1st deadline, reports the Washington Post.

The Small Business Health Option Program (SHOP), through which small businesses with 50 or fewer employees can sign up to provide healthcare coverage options for employees, is expected to open up for enrollment October 1, 2013.

The official announcement from the U.S. Department of Health is confusing at best.  Government officials have objected to the characterization of the later signup date as a “delay.”

One way to look at this online signup date change is that by itself it’s not a huge matter.  But some observers say the various sliding dates, even a one-month delay such as this, are a signal that the Affordable Care Act is just not ready for prime time.

“Every step in the implementation process has seen delays and setbacks; we are certainly not surprised by this one. But with this latest glitch in the small-business exchanges, the case for a delay of the individual mandate alongside the employer mandate only grows stronger,” said Kevin Kuhlman. Kuhlman is the manager of legislative affairs for the National Federation of Independent Business.

“Small-business owners should not be forced to comply with a law that is clearly not ready for prime-time. This is starting to seem like a parody; unfortunately, it is extremely serious,” Kuhlman added.

Individuals still will be required to buy health insurance by Jan. 1, 2014 or face fines.

Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may be able to receive tax credits for providing healthcare that can help cover premiums.

Read more information about SHOP exchanges affecting small businesses with 50 or fewer employees – and those who work for them.


Shawn Hessinger Shawn Hessinger is the Executive Editor for Small Business Trends and a professional journalist with more than 20 years experience in traditional and digital media for trade publications and news sites. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and has served as a beat reporter, columnist, editorial writer, bureau chief and managing editor for the Berks Mont Newspapers.

5 Reactions
  1. I think that many of us have just been sitting on our hands waiting for this to go away and for some reason, it just keeps gaining momentum.

  2. This is clearly not working. I don’t think that businesses should be complied to do this when it is not working to begin with. I mean we’re talking about health care here. Any delays in the beginning is not a good sign.

  3. Shawn:

    It is time cut the red tape and give back the freedom of choice to the customers of healthcare products and services. Have you heard about ad-hoc associations, Americans for Free Choice in Medicine and Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine?