Not that it's a huge frigging surprise, but small business online enrollment in Affordable Care Act-compliant health insurance, which was already delayed from October 1 until December 1, will be pushed back a full year, until November of 2014. Like a floundering big budget movie production announcing just before the Fourth of July weekend that a few scenes have to be reshot, so the resulting mess should be hitting screens…eventually, the Obama administration rolled out this particular turkey the day before Thanksgiving.
According to David Morgan at Reuters:
The Obama administration on Wednesday announced a one-year delay in online health insurance enrollment for small businesses with 50 or fewer full-time workers that could qualify for subsidized coverage under Obamacare.
It was the latest in a series of delays that have diminished the scope President Barack Obama's landmark healthcare law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The administration has faced implementation challenges before and since the troubled October 1 rollout of the federal website HealthCare.gov.
Robert Pear of the New York Times, perhaps growing a bit justifiably cynical, points out, "The announcement of the delay, just before Thanksgiving, is reminiscent of the way the White House announced, just before the Independence Day weekend, a one-year delay in the requirement for larger employers to offer health insurance to employees."
Actually, if you go to the small business section of Healthcare.gov, the site tantalizingly announces that "The SHOP Marketplace is open for business!" Not so much. If you click on "apply" you're prompted to pick your state, before being instructed, "You enroll in SHOP coverage directly through an agent, broker, or insurance company."
No matter how it's done, expect a good bit of insurance shopping to become necessary, since the Department of Health and Human Services itself estimated in 2010 that 49 to 80 percent of small employer (under 100 workers) plans, which cover 43 million people, would lose their grandfathered status. That would require the sort of cancellation notifications that have raised so many eyebrows, and blood pressures, in recent weeks among individuals. Unless the president once more unilaterally orders the temporary suspension of the requirements of the law that he himself championed.