WASHINGTON, Sept. 26 (UPI) -- The Obama administration said it would delay for one month online enrollment for the SHOP program, part of the Affordable Care Act geared for small businesses.
Insurance coverage would still start on time on Jan. 1 for small businesses that are enrolled and pay their first premium by Dec. 15, Politico reported.
"All functions for SHOP will be available in November," the Department of Health and Human Services said in a release.
In the meantime, the department said it would ramp up its outreach to small businesses to explain their options, including a tax credit that climbs to 50 percent of an employer's contribution to employees' health insurance premiums that is available in 2014 only to businesses enrolled in the Small Business Health Option Program that goes by the nickname SHOP.
"With open enrollment and full implementation right around the corner, we've upped our efforts to get entrepreneurs the information they need to best take advantage of the law's small business provisions. Small business owners have been waiting for decades for something to rein in premium costs. This is our chance to help get them some relief," founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Small Business Majority John Arensmeyer said in a statement.
Rhett Buttle, a spokesman for the Small Business Majority, called the delay "disappointing" but added, "I don't think it's going to hurt enrollment."
The Obama administration also said a Spanish-language website dedicated to the Affordable Care Act -- also called Obamacare -- would not be ready by Oct. 1.
The delays are certain to feed into the Republican's anti-Obamacare campaign in Washington, the Politico said.
"This law is a disaster, but the exchanges -- the heart of the law -- are supposed to go live in just five days?" Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said in a statement.
"Give me a break. This law will never be ready for prime time because this is what happens when Washington takes over healthcare," Hatch said.