In the biggest roll-out of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to date, the health insurance marketplaces (formerly referred to as exchanges) will be available starting this Tuesday, Oct. 1, in order to assist individuals in need of health care coverage and small businesses looking for employee coverage.
Howver, the Small Business Health Option Program (SHOP) marketplaces are facing some delays. In the 36 states where the federal government is running the marketplaces, businesses with 50 or fewer full-time employees will be able to shop for coverage on the government’s website beginning Oct. 1, but they won’t be able to sign up employees for coverage until November.
While the individual mandate provision in the ACA requires that individuals obtain health insurance by Jan. 1, 2014, doing so through the marketplaces is voluntary. In order to have coverage that meets the Jan. 1 deadline, marketplace plans must be purchased no later than Dec. 15, 2013.
Each state has determined how its exchange will run, but they all will provide insurance options available in a given area, so those looking for coverage can compare plans based on price, benefits, quality and other features. Subsidies will be available for those earning less than 400 percent of the poverty line.
Last week, the American Rental Association (ARA) sent state-specific emails outlining how each state plans to run its marketplace. See the chart below for specific information about how the marketplace will be handled in your state.
|AL, AK, AZ, AR*, DE*, FL, GA, IL*, IN, IA*, KS, LA, ME, MI*, MS, MO, MT, NE, NH*, NJ, NC, ND, OH, OK, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, WV*, WI, WY
||Connect for Health|
||Access Health Connecticut|
||Health Benefit Exchange Authority|
||Hawaii Health Connector|
||Your Health Idaho|
||Kentucky’s Healthcare Connection|
||Maryland Health Connection|
||Nevada Health Link|
||New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange|
||New York State of Health|
||Health Source RI|
Federal site for individual and/or family coverage;
State site for small business coverage
||Washington Health Plan Finder|
*Although federal Marketplace will be in place on Oct. 1, this state plans to partner with federal government in its implementation.
Residents of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands should contact their territorial government for Marketplace information.
Click here to read the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services press release regarding the SHOP delay.
Click here for detailed information on the SHOP application and enrollment process.
Click here for more information and answers to frequently asked questions about the marketplaces.
Click here for additional help and resources regarding new insurance options for businesses.