The board of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange is thinking about pushing the start date for the state’s Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) exchange to Oct. 1, 2014.
The board of the state’s SHOP exchange, or small business exchange, is considering that option because only one carrier, Kaiser Permanente Northwest, has made a firm commitment to participating in the SHOP exchange, and that carrier has only a limited geographic network, exchange officials said in a report posted on the program’s website.
The board staff talked about possible responses to carriers’ lack of interest in participating in the SHOP exchange in the first year in another document on the site.
The other option would be to open the SHOP exchange Oct. 1, 2013, with Kaiser acting as the only coverage provider, officials said.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) requires the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and state regulators to open exchanges, or health insurance supermarkets, for individuals and small groups in all states and the District of Columbia, by Oct. 1, 2013, with the first coverage sold through the exchanges to take effect Jan. 1, 2014.
States can choose between running their own exchanges and letting HHS provide, or help provide, exchange services for their residents.
The HHS federal plan exchange application deadline was April 30, and HHS has not said anything about how many carriers submitted applications.
The discussion in Washington state does not appear to involve the state’s individual health insurance exchange.