HHS Seeks to End Small Biz HC.gov Enrollment

Recently, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a proposal that would prevent small businesses from enrolling workers in health insurance plans through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace on HealthCare.gov.

The proposed plan would affect the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) starting in 2018. The HHS pointed to low participation in the SHOP marketplace as the reasoning for the proposed changes. According to the HHS, out of the nearly 30 million small businesses in the country, fewer than 8,000 – just 0.1% – of them currently participate in the federally facilitated SHOPs.

The intention of the proposed rulemaking would be to change the way small employers and employees in SHOPs using HealthCare.gov enroll in SHOP plans that take effect on or after January 1, 2018. Under the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid proposal, employers would enroll directly with an insurance company that offers SHOP plans or with the assistance of an agent or broker registered with the federally facilitated SHOP, instead of enrolling online at HealthCare.gov. If the HHS plan is finalized, employers would still obtain a determination of eligibility by going to HealthCare.gov.