This guide is for small business owners who are interested in the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). We’ll give you an overview of the SHOP Exchange, it’s benefits, drawbacks and explain what to expect from the program in the future.”View More from fitssmallbusiness.com
Any time I start reading up on health care and insurance, I’ll be the first to admit my eyes somewhat glaze over, and I start thinking about sandy beaches and sunshine or cool mornings in the mountains…or–well–anything other than health care and insurance. But as this is a primary concern for many of our members and will continue to be, mental vacations aren’t an option.
Last year, I had the opportunity to sit down with a group of other chamber execs from across the state as we got some of the preliminary details of the SHOP Exchange, the federal insurance marketplace for employers.
At that time, pre-non-rollout-rollout, there were still a lot of unanswered questions about what would come of the marketplace for employers. And, in fact, there still are, at least for me.
If you haven’t gotten the basics, this article from fitssmallbusiness is a good primer to learn about the SHOP Exchange. Hopefully it provides some clarification, as opposed to one more piece of information overload.
Once I read the article, I reached out to Gina Harper, an official healthcare navigator with East Missouri Action Agency, for some additional insight.
A few key points she added:
Missouri only offers one Insurance company in the marketplace, Blue Cross Blue Shield. It makes sense that employers should work with their insurance broker, remembering that a broker can show SHOP rates, but can also present multiple other policies and options that might better suit the employers’ needs.
If an employer meets requirements and does participate in SHOP, then they are eligible for tax credits for two consecutive years–so make sure plan accordingly. Would you want 2015 and 2016, or would 2016 and 2017 be better for you?
She also shared that navigators are only allowed to explain about the SHOP now, and are not allowed to enroll any employees (like they enroll individuals/families all the time).
There is a lot of information out there, but hopefully this resource can give you some basic background to add value to the information you’ve already seen (or haven’t yet seen) on the SHOP Exchange.