Feeds

Small-biz bosses: Want staff plans from Obama Care site? See ya in 2014!

Come back in 12 months, it'll probably be working then

Boost IT visibility and business value

The beleaguered US HealthCare.gov portal has been dealt yet another setback: small-business owners will not be able to use the medical insurance marketplace to buy plans for staff for another year.

Known as the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), the service was supposed to be used by small companies with fewer than 50 employees. Such organizations are not mandated to provide health insurance, but have been offered coverage programs by insurers.

The US government had hoped to bring the SHOP service online quickly so firms could purchase multiple individual coverage plans from the glitch-prone HealthCare.gov, rather than a single insurance plan for all employees. Now the rollout of that feature has been delayed.

Bosses can still purchase coverage directly from insurers and brokers, while certain states will also offer their own online markets for small business insurance coverage.

"We anticipate that small employers throughout the country will have online access to an online SHOP Marketplace by November 2014," the US Department of Health and Human Services said in a blog post.

"Also, for the first time ever, small employers in all 50 States and the District of Columbia will be able to offer their employees a choice of plans from multiple issuers while making a single monthly payment, for coverage taking effect on or after January 1, 2015."

News of the 2014 SHOP launch date is the latest in what has become a series of setbacks for the Obama administration's online health insurance bazaar. Launched as part of new regulations mandating health insurance coverage for Americans, the market is supposed to allow Americans to seek out plans from competing insurers.

Since its launch, however, the site has fallen over and has been the subject of speculation that it is vulnerable to attack: computer security researchers fear the portal will soon be, or already has been, compromised by hackers bent on swiping sensitive personal information about US citizens. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
Banking apps: Handy, can grab all your money... and RIDDLED with coding flaws
Yep, that one place you'd hoped you wouldn't find 'em
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Primetime precrime? Minority Report TV series 'being developed'
I have to know. I have to find out what happened to my life
Broadband slow and expensive? Blame Telstra says CloudFlare
Won't peer, will gouge for Internet transit
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
prev story

Whitepapers

Best practices for enterprise data
Discussing how technology providers have innovated in order to solve new challenges, creating a new framework for enterprise data.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?