The Trump administration will allow small businesses to sign up for insurance coverage directly through an insurance agent or broker instead of through ObamaCare’s healthcare.gov.
The change, slated to take effect for plans beginning on Jan. 1, 2018, allows small businesses to circumvent the Affordable Care Act’s Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) marketplaces, which haven’t been very successful.
About 85,000 people from 11,000 small businesses are covered under the SHOP exchanges, though millions more were expected to participate when the program launched.
“Our goal is to reduce ACA burdens on consumers and small businesses and make it easier for them to purchase coverage,” said Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Administrator Seema Verma.
“The ACA has failed to provide affordable insurance to small business and to the American people. This new direction will help employers find affordable healthcare coverage for their employees and make the SHOP exchanges function more effectively,” she added.
Businesses would still have to use healthcare.gov to determine eligibility, but insurers will be able to use their own enrollment systems.