Marking the latest HealthCare.gov setback, the Obama administration today will announce a yearlong delay of online enrollment for small businesses looking to purchase health coverage through federal-run exchanges, according to an HHS notice obtained by POLITICO.
Small businesses have been able to apply through paper applications since Oct. 1, and HHS will announce alternative sign-up methods, like enrolling through an agent or broker or directly through an insurer.
“We’ve concluded that we can best serve small employers by continuing this offline process while we concentrate on both creating a smoothly functioning online experience in the SHOP Marketplace, and adding key new features, including an employee choice option and premium aggregation services, by November 2014,” according to the HHS notice.
A spokeswoman for HHS did not respond to requests for comment this morning.
The administration originally delayed online enrollment in the federal-run small-businesses exchanges, known as SHOP, just days before the failed Oct. 1 launch of HealthCare.gov. At the time, HHS said online enrollment would be available “sometime in November.” Weeks ago, administration officials said online enrollment would be ready by the end of November.
Announcing something the day before Thanksgiving that will impact small businesses is par for the course. I will try to pull together a list of all of the things that have been delayed by a year, till after the election.