California’s Small Business Health Insurance Exchange Off to Slow Start

Kaiser Health News reports that California’s insurance marketplace for small businesses has attracted just a fraction of eligible companies, with most being deterred by technology glitches, paperwork delays, and customer service problems. The SHOP program has kind of taken a backseat, said John Kabateck, the California executive director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses. California began offering online enrollment in November. But in February, the exchange suspended Internet sign-ups after applicants ran into such glitches as error messages or delays in loading pages and some applications came in incomplete. The exchange instructed businesses and their brokers to use  traditional paper applications, for now. The online  version is expected to be up again in the fall with more efficient service and a better way to determine eligibility.

Orange County insurance broker Kathy Hope, told Kaiser Health News that the SHOP is just a mess and insurers are offering comparable products outside of the marketplace, so there is little reason to enroll. “The tax credit is a relief for some small businesses, but getting it requires red tape, time and expense. We are encouraging our members to look both in and out of the market,” said Kabateck of the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

Last Updated 05/25/2022

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