Sunsetting Online SHOP Enrollment Will Result in Fewer Healthcare Options for Small Businesses

For Immediate Release: 
Monday, May 15, 2017

Statement by John Arensmeyer, Founder & CEO of Small Business Majority, about the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' announcement today that they are proposing to end SHOP’s online enrollment feature


We are very disappointed the Trump administration announced today they are proposing to sunset online enrollment for the federal Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) marketplaces. If the proposal is finalized, after Nov. 15 small businesses would only be able to window shop for SHOP coverage through, and would instead have to enroll by using a broker or buying directly from an insurance company. Forcing small employers to make this extra effort just to enroll in SHOP will make it likely that SHOP usage dwindles to little or nothing.  

As disappointing as this proposal is, it does not come as a surprise since the success of SHOP has not been a priority. Thanks to delays of key SHOP provisions like implementation of employee choice, and lack of efforts to ensure the SHOP marketplaces are robust and competitive, the program has not been nearly as successful as we had hoped.

We know from Small Business Majority’s scientific opinion polling that small businesses support key features of SHOP, including employee choice and the small business tax credits. By removing the online enrollment functionality, the employee choice feature will become all but impossible for employers to utilize, and it will become more difficult to take advantage of the small business tax credit, which is a setback for small businesses.

We believe SHOP still has the potential to be an important tool to help small businesses access quality and comprehensive health coverage, but only if this administration makes it a priority to bolster the program and recognize the challenges small businesses face in accessing coverage.

Unfortunately, this proposal is just one more example of how the Trump administration would rather undo key parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that are good for small businesses, their employees and their families, rather than focus on improving and strengthening the healthcare law. We urge the administration to drop this proposal and instead focus on improvements to the ACA and the overall health insurance marketplace that will actually help small businesses.


About Small Business Majority

Small Business Majority was founded and is run by small business owners to focus on solving the biggest problems facing small businesses today. Since 2005, we have actively engaged small business owners and policymakers in support of public policy solutions, and have delivered information and resources to entrepreneurs that promote small business growth and drive a strong economy. We regularly engage our network of 55,000 small business owners along with a formal strategic partnership program of more than 150 business organizations, enabling us to reach more than 500,000 entrepreneurs. Our extensive scientific polling, focus groups and economic research help us educate and inform policymakers, the media and other stakeholders about key issues impacting small businesses and freelancers, including access to capital, taxes, healthcare, retirement, entrepreneurship and workforce development. Learn more about us on our website and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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