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What Is SHOP?

SHOP stands for Small Business Health options Program. These are a critical component of the Affordable Care Act, since the states are responsible forproviding online marketplaces where small businesses and individuals can shop for their health insurance coverage. The date for SHOP availability is nearing, since states must have their own creation (or the federal version) prepared by October 2013. In January of 2014, the exchanges will “go live” and become an active place for consumers to learn more about their health insurance options.

Part of the reasoning behind these exchanges is that the cost of healthcare coverage has skyrocketed in recent years. Small businesses can barely afford to cover the high premiums to insure their employees, so some were even dropping health insurance as a benefit completely. Individuals were also foregoing coverage due to trouble obtaining a policy or the high costs of premiums. The goal of the SHOPs is to provide open access to numerous citizens so that as many people as possible (with the goal being all people) are covered by health insurance.

Some consumers may be nervous about how to differentiate between the available plans to determine the best fit for them. The good news is that health insurance agents, many of whom have years of experience in matching clients with the best policies for them, will be available to guide you through the process. There are several different tiers of coverage and carriers will have different plans listed in these different tiers. personal conversation with your health insurance agent will help you select the proper plan for you and your family.

Consumer choice is a big focus for the Affordable Care Act. Consumers will benefit from increased options and choices in the health insurance exchanges and be able to determine the best plan for them.