Another update from the HR jungle….
Cindy owns a small business that has 6 employees. She would love to offer health insurance to her employees but has found it too expensive in the past. Instead, she raised wages slightly and encouraged her employees to buy individual coverage.
When Cindy first heard about the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) she was excited about the possibilities. Early reports were that small employers like her company might finally be able to afford a group health plan. The Small Business Health Option Program (SHOP) would have standardized plans, making it easier to compare coverage. The SHOP was also supposed to allow small employers to offer more than one health plan option to employees.
Alas, the SHOP is part of the Healthcare Exchange or Marketplace. The roll out of the Individual Exchange was such a mess that all the most attractive features of the SHOP were delayed. Another year has gone by and open enrollment in (and outside) the Exchange will soon start. Cindy is pondering her choices.
What options are available to Cindy?
1. She could work with her insurance agent to apply for a group health plan via the SHOP, even though the coverage options are limited.
2. She could work with her insurance agent to apply for a group health plan outside the SHOP where there are more coverage options available from more insurers.
3. She could continue doing what she currently does, which is to increase her employees’ pay and encourage them to obtain individual coverage.
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