Over the past year or more, the controversial health insurance exchanges mandated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act have largely not been available to small businesses. However, that is soon to change in most parts of the country, and it seems that many owners will also benefit from improvements that are continually being made to those sites.
The small business exchanges have been open since late last year, but haven’t been easily accessible for many entrepreneurs to even browse easily as they tried to find more affordable coverage, according to a report from the Washington Post. But with the second year of these exchanges now soon to begin, and more states taking steps to put them online and make them easily accessible, it seems that improvements are on the way in many parts of the country.
What does this mean for companies?
For instance, it seems that Washington, D.C., will receive the third big update to its SHOP exchanges in recent months, which includes the ability to search online, the report said. Small business owners in most states still don’t have that ability, but may do so soon. But the latest change to the District of Columbia’s exchange would allow employees to quickly and easily update their information when they go through a major life change, such as having a child or getting married. For this reason, that marketplace is seen as one for other states to emulate going forward, and much of its early success seems to be based upon flexibility from the people in charge of it.
“We’ve been soliciting feedback from employers, employees and brokers to see how we can improve the process and what additional functionality would help,” Hannah Turner, manager of the city’s small-business exchange, told the newspaper.
However, some states may be lagging well behind when it comes to getting their own exchange sites online, the report said. For instance, Maryland has gone through many issues getting its own marketplace ready, and it might not even be available until later in 2015 or beyond, meaning that owners there may be out of luck for some time to come.
Owners who want to best position their companies for success when it comes to complying with the federal health insurance coverage mandate for businesses may want to consider other ways to save money. That could include cutting costs for different types of small business insurance, including liability insurance, to free up cash.