"Employee Choice” in Federal SHOP Exchanges Delayed

May 5, 2013

On March 11, HHS announced it is delaying the “employee choice” option in the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Exchanges from 2014 to 2015 for the 33 states where the Federal government will be running the Exchanges.

The employee choice option will allow employers to determine how much they will contribute toward the cost of employee coverage and offer their employees a choice of Exchange plans from different carriers at a certain metal level (Bronze, Silver, etc.).

Due to this delay, in states where the Federal government is developing the Exchange, in 2014, small employers will choose an Exchange plan and their employees will decide whether or not to enroll in that plan. Employers will not be able to offer their employees a choice of plans until 2015.

Exchanges being developed by states may choose to offer employee choice in 2014, or they may choose to delay implementation of that feature until 2015. The employee choice option will be available in all SHOP Exchanges for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2015.