Many small businesses won't be able to "SHOP" online for Obamacare insurance this year.
The Obama Administration — in its latest holiday-eve announcement of an embarrassing delay in its health-care law — on Wednesday said small businesses in states served by HealthCare.gov won't be allowed to purchase Obamacare coverage for their employees through that federally operated Web site until Nov. 2014.
If they want to buy such Small Business Health Option Program (SHOP) coverage for workers, those businesses in the 36 affected states will have do so directly through an insurer, agent, or broker, as many of them already do now, said Julie Bataille, spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Bataille said the online SHOP exchange isn't ready to be launched because officials decided that it was more "important" to get the individual insurance application and enrollment functions on tech-troubled HealthCare.gov fixed.
The delay of online shopping by businesses with less than 50 employees only applies to companies in states where Obamacare insurance is being sold by HealthCare.gov.