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SHOP Exchanges Taking a Slice of Small Biz Market

Christopher Cheney, for HealthLeaders Media, March 18, 2014

Dash says the SHOP exchanges have the potential to help the country achieve a value-based healthcare system. "The idea is you aggregate the purchasing power of your individuals and your small businesses," she said. "Big businesses can drive value-based initiatives. They can kind of drive the marketplace more [than smaller players]… The idea behind the marketplaces is as an aggregator and setter of standards. That's the promise as far as the value-based delivery system is concerned."

Rhode Island on a Roll
While the Commonwealth Fund study does not gauge SHOP exchange performance, it does indicate "which ones are working and which ones aren't working," Dash said, noting the states are leading the charge.

"The states that did move forward with establishing their own SHOPs really tried to make this a value-add for small businesses," she said. "Federally run SHOPs just don't have the level of choice. Employers in those states don't have the options that are available in other states."

Several states offer health insurance policies on their SHOP exchanges that exceeded federal standards, according to Dash. She says seven states, including Rhode Island, offer the fullest possible range of plans.

"Our SHOP exchange is one of the only SHOP exchanges in the nation that has been up and running since October 1," HealthSource RI officials said in a statement released Monday. "We've been pleased with the interest we've seen from Rhode Island's small employers, particularly around our unique Full Employee Choice model, which lets the employer select a base or reference plan at a designated contribution level and then gives employees the flexibility to choose from any of the 16 plans offered on our SHOP exchange. Employers appreciate having predictability in cost while still having the flexibility to let their employees choose what's best for them."

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1 comments on "SHOP Exchanges Taking a Slice of Small Biz Market"


Michael Lujan (3/18/2014 at 4:36 PM)
The value of value will prove itself over time. The first was mostly about enrollment in the individual market. In most states, the small group market was relatively stable with guaranteed coverage for small employers. In CA, we've had something like SHOP since 1993 and still have private exchange products for small groups. If SHOP can offer unique plans (e.g. Medicaid plans normally not offered in the commercial market) and leverage their public exchange platform to also enroll part-time workers not eligible for group coverage... they may have an advantage in the commercial segment. Enrollment in SHOP will grow starting August through Dec 2014 when they begin to capture groups who chose "early renewal" in Q4 2013. So much of this will depend on public exchanges embrace and support of Certified Agents who serve the employer market. Since nearly 90% of small employers work with licensed agents, exchanges would be wise to provide dependable agent support and not work against this important enrollment channel. #AgentsAreTheAnswer