The White House is delaying the launch of its online small-business exchange by one year, a Health and Human Services (HHS) official confirmed to The Hill on Wednesday.
The delay is another setback for the troubled enrollment process of President Obama’s signature healthcare law.
Companies with fewer than 50 employees were slated to begin buying coverage through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), an online ObamaCare exchange, this month. The exchange’s delay means small businesses will instead have to seek out coverage through an agent or broker.
On a conference call with reporters, Centers for Medicaid and Medicare spokeswoman Julie Bataille said the delay was the result of the administration concentrating its focus and energy on getting the online exchange for individuals up and running by Nov. 30.
Bataille argued that since many small businesses already go through agents and brokers, the disruption would be small because employers are already familiar with the process. She also said employers would be able to determine their eligibility for tax credits, a key feature of the federal exchange, through the workaround.
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