Health Care Reform
September 27, 2013

The Affordable Care Act was put in place to ensure that all Americans have access to affordable health insurance. As a result of the legislation, a new way for Americans to access health care coverage, Health Insurance Marketplace, is being introduced for 2014. The marketplace provides affordable coverage to Americans up to age 65. Most Americans must obtain health coverage by 2014, get an exemption or pay a fee. 
 
Businesses with 50 or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employees will have the opportunity to utilize the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) to shop for and to offer coverage to employees. Employers decide if they will offer health care, they control the coverage offered as well as their level of contribution. Employers are encouraged to notify employees of the marketplace or of SHOP in October. 
 
This week the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said employers with 50 or fewer workers will not be able to sign their staff up for private insurance in federally operated exchanges until a month later, Nov. 1, because of technical problems. Health coverage through SHOP starts as soon as Jan. 1, 2014. To view state specific information, go to www.healthcare.gov/marketplace/shop.