Question: Did I just hear that the SHOP requirement under the Affordable Care Act was delayed?  If so, until when?  And what does this mean for certain states where the exchanges are ready to operate?

Answer: It is true.  The Department of Health and Human Services recently announced that full implementation of the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) component of the state-based health insurance exchanges created by the ACA will be delayed until 2015.  States that are establishing their own exchanges will be allowed to move forward with a 2014 effective day or delay implementation of their SHOPs until 2015.

If you are a small employer and planned to offer health coverage to your employees through the SHOP Exchange, you should determine whether you will offer your employees coverage through the transition rule for 2014. Additional agency guidance is expected to clarify how and when this decision must be made.