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Small business exchange site delayed 1 year

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The Obama Administration has delayed by one year the launch of the federal small-business exchange website.

The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) will eventually work alongside the individual health care exchange, with one website serving individuals and the other small businesses (50 or fewer workers).

The exchanges are intended to allow consumers to compare costs and coverage for a variety of plans, and then purchase a plan. Nevertheless, small companies (49 or fewer workers) are not required to offer insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Small businesses located in states that only offer the federal SHOP will need to seek coverage through an agent or broker. However, the decision does not affect states that have established their own state-based individual and small business exchanges.

Those 22 states are Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia.

Additionally, many of the state-based exchanges are available for companies with 100 or fewer workers.

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