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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

11/30/2013 (10 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Marks second delay for online small business enrollment

As if there was any other needed indication that "Obamacare," or health care reform doesn't know what it is yet, small businesses who wish to enroll online have been given a substantial delay of ANOTHER YEAR. It was just another high-profile setback for HealthCare.gov and the second delay for online small business enrollment - which was SUPPOSED to begin this month.

For many small businesses, the announcement made by the White House wasn't something they were expecting to eat on Thanksgiving.

For many small businesses, the announcement made by the White House wasn't something they were expecting to eat on Thanksgiving.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

11/30/2013 (10 months ago)

Published in Politics & Policy

Keywords: Obamacare, small businesses, Health and Human Services, John Boehner


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The White House set Saturday, November 30, as the target date for getting HealthCare.gov working for the "vast majority" of users. Individuals and families seeking coverage, a higher priority than businesses are still having a hard time enrolling.

In truth, the delay of small business enrollment came as no surprise. The White House had previously declared that it would offer alternative ways for small businesses to enroll, which essentially undermines the administration's message it's clearing up the confusion in regards to Obamacare.

Setting up a goal of successfully enrolling seven million  citizens through Obamacare exchanges via the individual marketplaces, the administration didn't count upon small business enrollment. Obamacare critics say the small-business exchanges, known as SHOP, are much further down on the administration's priority list.

For many small businesses, it wasn't something they were expecting to eat on Thanksgiving. It's just the latest in a long series of delays and miscalculations for the president's signature domestic legislation.

On July 2 - also just before a holiday, the Fourth of July,   the administration delayed the employer mandate for a year. Small businesses with fewer than 50 workers are exempt from the requirement to cover them, and the exchanges are supposed to give more options to those that choose to offer coverage.

"The president bit off more than he can chew with this health care law, and small businesses are now forced to bear the consequences," House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement.

Small businesses have been able to apply for exchange coverage by paper application since October 1. Heath and Human Services this week announced they will have additional ways of enrolling on SHOP, including going 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 an HHS notice issued earlier this week. Those two features are supposed to give workers more choice of health plans, rather than having the business owner select coverage for employees.

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