February 19, 2014
Area(s) of Interest: Advocacy Health Care Reform Practice Management
Covered California, the state marketplace for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, announced last week that the website for its Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) would be going offline until at least the fall in order to “implement a series of redesigns” that Covered California hopes will “increase the efficiency of service and allow better management of applications, including determination of eligibility, implementing group changes and issuing invoices.”
“The SHOP portal was not meeting the needs of agents or small employers and needed improvements,” said Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee. In the meantime, small-business owners can continue enrolling in SHOP by calling the SHOP Service Center or working with a Certified Insurance Agent.
SHOP Service Center representatives are available 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday at (877) 453-9198. The Service Center can assist both small-business owners and Certified Insurance Agents with paper application enrollments and answer questions about existing applications. To date, the vast majority of SHOP enrollments have been submitted using paper applications.
SHOP is a voluntary program open to small-business owners with one to 50 eligible employees. Like the health insurance plans in Covered California’s individual market, Covered California’s SHOP plans were negotiated to bring a standardized set of benefits, a robust provider network and a broad choice of health insurance plans with competitive pricing to employers and their employees. Many small-business owners qualify for a federal tax credit to help offset contributions toward employee premiums.