The directors of Connecticut's public health insurance exchange are moving ahead with plans to launch the state's Small Business Health Options Program marketplace in October, despite the federal government's proposed delay of the program's full rollout until 2015.
On Wednesday, Access Health CT — the quasi-public agency commissioned in 2011 by the Connecticut Legislature to run the state's insurance exchange — announced that it has selected New York-based HealthPass and Chicago-based Bswift Inc. to provide technology and administrative support for the state's SHOP exchange.
Through the exchange's defined contribution model, small employers — defined as firms with 50 or fewer full-time workers — can provide their employees with access to a range health benefit plans from multiple insurers.
“We understand the importance of choice and affordability to small businesses and their employees,” Kevin Counihan, Access Health CT's CEO, said in a statement on Wednesday. “We know one size doesn't always fit all and that individual employees have different needs. Our SHOP products offer broad carrier choice while allowing employers to budget and fix their costs for health insurance.”
Enrollment in Access Health CT's SHOP exchange is scheduled to open in October.
In March, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department proposed delaying SHOP's full implementation until 2015, stating that it needed “additional time to prepare for an employee choice model and to increase the stability of the small group market while providing small groups with the benefits of SHOP in 2014.”
Under the proposal, states whose exchanges are run in full or in part by the federal government could only offer one coverage option to small employers for the 2014 plan year, with a broader range of plans becoming available in 2015.
States that have elected to run their own exchanges, including Connecticut, also were given the option to delay fully launching their SHOP exchanges until 2015.Connecticut to proceed with small business health insurance exchange originally appeared on Crain's Business Insurance.