Last Wednesday, the White House announced that the launch of the online version of the federal small businesses insurance coverage or SHOP Marketplace would be delayed until November 2014. Until then, businesses with fewer than 50 employees may still purchase this coverage through the exchange, but will have to use brokers or agents to do so.
This delay affects small businesses in the 36 states, including Arizona and Wyoming, who chose to have the federal government run their insurance exchanges. It does not affect small business in the 14 states, including Colorado, who are running their own insurance exchanges.
Small businesses need to purchase coverage through the SHOP Marketplace to take advantage of tax credits available to some businesses with fewer than 25 employees. The tax credit has been available since 2010; however, beginning in 2014, businesses must purchase insurance through the exchange to claim the credit.