Many public health insurance exchanges did a lousy job of setting up their small-group programs and reaching out to brokers — and many are scared of private exchanges.
Linda Blumberg and Shanna Rifkin, analysts at the Urban Institute, report on eight state-based exchanges’ Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) divisions in a paper distributed by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The analysts looked at the SHOP programs in Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Rhode Island.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) public exchange system has helped 9 million people sign up for individual qualified health plan coverage this year, but ACAsignups.net, an exchange enrollment tracking blog, knows of only about 72,000 SHOP plan enrollees. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has declined to give any information about SHOP plan sales at the exchanges it runs.
A PPACA small business tax credit was supposed to help SHOP sales. In practice, the tax credit is too narrow to help many employers, the analysts say. The analysts say exchange SHOP division technical problems also hurt sales.