GAO Says Early ACA Enrollments Under SHOP Program Are Lower Than Expected

Date: November 17, 2014

76,000 People Have Enrolled Under Program As Of June 1

A
recent GAO report says early enrollment for the ACA’s Small Business Health
Options Program (SHOP), which opened this year to companies with 50 or fewer
employees, is well short of the 2 million workers that had been expected.
According to the report, as of June 1, fewer than 12,000 employers covering
76,000 workers had purchased coverage on the 18 state small business insurance
exchanges, and while numbers for the 33 exchanges run by the federal government
are not yet available, they are expected to be similar.

Small businesses pay up to 20 percent more for health coverage than larger
firms, and the exchanges were intended to provide better prices and more
options to them by lowering administrative costs and make insurers compete
for business. However, the exchanges were plagued by technology problems and in
many states, customers were given few coverage choices and were able to get
better deals off the exchanges. Moreover, according to the Washington Post, the
GAO report says that while tax credits available through the marketplace were
seen as a main selling point, according to officials, “the credit may be too
small and administratively complex to motivate many employers to enroll.” In
addition, the report notes that the two-year limit on the tax credit and the
fact that SHOP premiums will likely not be lower than non-SHOP premiums “may
hinder future enrollment growth.”

Additional Reading:

The GAO report can be seen here,
and a press release from House Small Business Committee chairman Sam Graves,
who requested the report, can be seen here. The AP, the Washington Times, the Washington Post, CNBC,
The Hill are among the media outlets reporting
on the GAO findings.

This news article is intended to keep small business owners apprised of current events that may affect them. It does not necessarily reflect NFIB’s policy position on such issues.

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