California’s SHOP is Open for Business

Dec. 3, 2013 / By

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New America Media, News Report, Viji Sundaram

above photo: Tyler (left), Liz and Steve Parker in front of their Tulsa Ribs Restaurant in Orange, Calif.

SAN FRANCISCO — Liz Parker, owner of Tulsa Ribs Restaurant, lauded yesterday’s announcement that the state’s online health insurance exchange will now offer California small business owners like herself a choice of affordable health insurance plans for their employees, and be rewarded for it with tax breaks.

Even though the Obama administration announced last week that small businesses that planned to enroll their employees through the federal online exchange’s Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), created under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), would not be able to do so until next November because of the glitches faced by Healthcare.gov, the federal online insurance exchange, California’s own SHOP program opened for business yesterday on its marketplace exchange called Covered California. This means, coverage for small business employees could begin as early as December 1.

SHOP was meant to give small businesses a simpler and more efficient way to buy insurance coverage for their workers, with the online marketplace standing in for a broker, if need be.

“Small businesses now have new options to provide more choice for their employees and new affordable options for their business,” said Peter V. Lee, executive director of Covered California. California, he said, has “hundreds of thousands” of small businesses.

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