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SHOP program designed to aid small businesses

January 1, 2014, is right around the corner for New York’s massive implementation of its Health Benefit Exchange in support of the federal Affordable Care Act. That’s the date health insurance coverage purchased through New York’s Exchange will go into effect.

If you want to learn more about the Exchange and how it will work, the wait is nearly over. The New York Health Benefit Exchange is gearing up for a large scale public education program that will fill in the blanks on how to purchase insurance, how much coverage will cost and much more.

For small businesses with fewer than 50 employees, the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) may be an option to explore if you haven’t offered healthcare for your employees in the past or if you offer coverage but want to decrease your costs. The Exchange believes the SHOP program will benefit employers in four ways:

  • You’ll be able to offer one plan, multiple plans by carrier or coverage level, or allow your employees to choose from among all the SHOP has to offer.
  • The Exchange will compile your premiums and send you one monthly bill for all employees.
  • If you use the Exchange to purchase health coverage, have fewer than 25 full-time employees paid an average of less than 50K each per year, you may qualify for a tax credit of up to 50% (up to 35% for non-profits) of eligible premium expenses to offset the cost of insurance.
  • The Exchange will allow employers to set a defined contribution to control costs.

You can learn more about the SHOP Program here.

Insurance brokers and “assistors” will be available to help business owners wade through the initial complexities of the Exchange to make the right decisions for you and your employees. A list of certified brokers and assistors will be available on the Exchange website this summer.

The Council will keep members apprised of developments with the Exchange.

Source: www.healthbenefitexchange.ny.gov