Screen Shot 2013-08-01 at 2.51.25 PMCovered California (CoveredCA) is the new health benefits exchange where individuals and small employers can purchase medical coverage.  Today, August 1, CoveredCA made the following announcement on their Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP):

  • The SHOP will include the medical carriers: Blue Shield, HealthNet, Kaiser, Chinese Community, Sharp, and Western Health Advantage
  • Premiums for the SHOP will vary based on region and are being marketed as comparable to or less than current 2013 rates
  • As of October 1, 2013, companies with less than 50 employees will have the option to choose the SHOP for their employees.  Coverage for their employees and dependents would begin as of January 1, 2014.
  • A federal tax credit is available to small companies meeting the following eligibility requirements:  (1)  Less than 25 full-time employees for the tax year, employees receiving less than $50,000 per year (on average), and employer premium contributions of at least 50%  or (2) Less than 10 full-time employees for the tax year and employees receiving less than $25,000 per year (on average)
Small employers will want to consider the option of CoveredCA's SHOP as they consider their options for January 1, 2014.  A clear advantage for the employer is the ability to offer more than one carrier option (including Kaiser) without the carrier participation requirements. For more information on CoveredCA's SHOP announcement you can review the press release and brochure on the SHOP.  Links to both are noted below. CoveredCA Press Release CoveredCA SHOP Brochure Details on available plan design, premiums, and new legislative requirements continue to change on what seems to be a daily basis.  As employers and employees look to consider the best options it is important to consult with a benefits consultant who can map out what plans best meet your needs.