House Small Business Committee Chairman Seeks SHOP Enrollment Data

How many small businesses have enrolled in the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) so far? That’s what House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) wants to know.

Graves recently wrote a letter to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Marilyn Tavenner to again request information about SHOP enrollment. In January, Graves requested enrollment numbers and related information from Health and Human Services’ Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) rules, costs will increase for nearly two-thirds of small businesses that provide health insurance to their employees, according to a CMS report released in February. The Committee has heard from numerous small businesses that are concerned about rising health care costs, among other new requirements the health care law demands. The SHOP program was supposed to provide a means for small firms to buy ACA-compliant insurance in a competitive marketplace, but it is not clear that is the case, according to Graves.

“As you know, the SHOPs opened, although without online enrollment and many promised features, on Oct. 1, 2013,” Graves stated in the letter. “Over seven months later, we still do not have any federal and some state SHOP enrollment data. I continue to be concerned that HHS or CMS has not compiled and/or released this information.”

The letter specifically requests the following information:

• the number of small businesses and the number of employees in each state who have enrolled in federal and each state SHOP;
• the number of small businesses and the number of employees in the federal and each state SHOP who have paid at least their first premium;
• the name of each entity from which CMS is collecting or will collect any information that is not yet available; and
• the date by which the federal and each state SHOP will be fully operational, including online enrollment.

The Administration has discussed the overall enrollment numbers for the health law, but hasn’t released any information about the progress regarding SHOPs, according to Graves. In March, HHS wrote a reply letter to Chairman Graves stating that the “metrics you requested are not currently available.”

For more information, visit http://smallbusiness.house.gov/uploadedfiles/graves_tavenner_shop_enrollment_letter.pdf.
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