Be aware, under a rule going to be proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, small firms would no longer use the HealthCare.gov website to enroll in SHOP (Small Business Health Options Program). Instead, beginning on Jan. 1, 2018, employers would instead enroll directly with an insurer, agent or broker offering the SHOP plans.
This move could make it easier for small firms to qualify for tax credits, since they would no longer have to buy group insurance through SHOP to receive it. Firms with fewer than 25 full-time workers can qualify for a tax credit of up to 50% of employer premium contributions. So far, SHOP covers about 230,000 individuals.
However, the ability to comparison shop likely would disappear. Choices would be limited to a single plan or just a few options offered by a single insurer.
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