Ohio small business groups offered varying takes on the Affordable Care Act’s Small Business Health Options Program marketplace this week as it opened for early access in the state.
While the Small Business Majority’s Ohio arm argued there’s “good business reasons” why employers should utilize the SHOP marketplace, the National Federation of Independent Business Ohio, which has opposed ACA provisions, said employers should “exercise caution” in considering the new option.
Created under the contentious federal health care law to help small employers offer affordable health insurance, the SHOP marketplace launched early access in five states Monday, including Ohio, New Jersey, Missouri, Illinois and Delaware, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services announced.
Early access to SHOP’s online enrollment aims to ensure HHS receives feedback on the system and addresses issues before it goes live in mid-November – a lesson learned from last year’s individual market rollout.
SBM Ohio Outreach Manager Michaela Hahn Burriss, whose organization participated in an HHS preview of SHOP early access, said the online tool seems easy to use and functional, but noted it’s still in the early stages.
Ms. Burriss added that Ohio’s early access to SHOP will give small businesses the advantage of being able to input information and research coverage options before the marketplace’s nationwide launch in November. She argued that it makes sense for employers to take advantage of the new option.