Soft Launch For Obamacare’s Business Exchange

Businesses in five states received early access Monday to select features at ObamaCare’s online health insurance marketplace for small employers.

The soft launch for the SHOP system is an effort by federal health officials to troubleshoot any problems at the exchange before Nov. 15, when it will open to all states that did not elect to build their marketplaces.

Small businesses in New Jersey, Delaware, Illinois, Ohio and Missouri can establish accounts, complete an application, receive a determination of eligibility and upload an employee roster, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said. In November, employers will also be able to browse plans and pricing.

SHOP has undergone a series of delays during the rollout of the healthcare law, including a decision to allow 18 states to temporarily forgo a feature allowing employees to choose among a variety of plans.

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