Healthcare Options for Small Businesses are Limited until 2015

The Obama administration recently verified that part of the 2010 health-care law geared toward helping small businesses offer insurance to their employees will be pushed off by a year.

The department overseeing Medicaid and Medicare announced that the launch of the federal SHOP Exchange, an online marketplace where businesses with less than 50 workers would be able to buy insurance for their employees and get a tax credit, would be on track for Oct. 1. However, the initial expectation that employees would be able to choose from a variety of plans has been quelled as they will only have one option for a plan. The full selection of healthcare plan options won’t be available until 2015.

The postponement recommended earlier in the year upset some business supporters and provoked questions about whether the administration was lagging on the implementation of the healthcare law.

While large companies will be obligated to provide insurance starting next year under the law, it will be optional for those with less than 50 employees. John Arensmeyer, head of the Small Business Majority, an advocacy group that supports the health law, said the news would probably deter some companies from offering insurance to their employees.

States that already established their own health insurance exchanges won’t be impacted by the delay.