ACA's SHOP draws 200,000 during first week of open enrollment

December 1, 2014

The launch of the Small Business Health Options (SHOP) marketplace drew 200,000 visitors during the first week of open enrollment.

The Small Business Health Options (SHOP) marketplace, which launched November 15 at the start of the Affordable Care Act’s second open enrollment period, is off to a slow but steady start.

The portal for small business owners and employees drew 200,00 visitors during the first week of open enrollment, according to the Washington Post.

SHOP is the small-business portal created under the ACA for businesses with 50 or fewer employees. Businesses with 25 employees or fewer are eligible for a tax credit.

It was slated to launch in 2013 but was delayed as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) grappled with a host of access and data problems on the consumer exchanges.

Five states–Delaware, Illinois, Ohio, Missouri and New Jersey–were given early access to the site in a controlled launch that let HHS trouble-shoot problems and fix them in advance of a full-scale launch.

The SHOP marketplace lets qualifying employers find, compare, purchase, and enroll in 2015 SHOP health and dental coverage online through HealthCare.gov.  Employees can also view offers of insurance from their employer and enroll online, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

The agency is touting employee choice as a feature of the SHOP marketplace, saying that it relieves employers of the burden of trying to find one plan for all their workers and lets employees choose the plan that works best for their needs.

“Letting employees choose a plan also spurs competition between insurance companies, which can lead to lower prices and better service,” said CMS in a statement.