WASHINGTON, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- The White House will delay the launch of the Affordable Care Act online exchange for U.S. small businesses, an administration official told The Hill.
Citing a Department of Health and Human Services official it did not identify, the Capitol Hill publication reported Wednesday the one-year delay will affect companies with fewer than 50 employees, who were scheduled to begin this month purchasing healthcare coverage online through the Small Business Health Options Program.
The delay means those business operators will have to purchase plans through agents or brokers, The Hill said.
The SHOP exchanges were established by the ACA to enable small businesses to comparison-shop for healthcare plans, and then offer a single plan to all employees or allow employees to choose from among plans that provide specified benefits.
However, the HHS postponed implementation of the second option this year, saying insurers need more time to prepare for it.