HARTFORD — Determined to set the standard for state health exchanges, Access Health CT will launch its Small Business Health Options (SHOP) program for quoting and enrollment on October 1 of this year. This action comes despite the decision by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to allow states to delay implementation of the employee-choice feature of SHOP until 2015.
Access Health CT (also known as the Exchange) was created by the Connecticut Legislature in 2011 and is a quasi-public agency established to satisfy requirements of the federal Affordable Care Act. Its mission is to increase the number of insured residents in Connecticut, promote health, lower costs, and eliminate health disparities. Its vision is to provide a simple online shopping and enrollment experience for state residents and small businesses, starting with open enrollment in October 2013.
Access Health CT has selected HealthPass and its exchange technology partner, bswift, to provide the front-end and administrative platform to offer a variety of health insurance options to small businesses and their employees.
Access Health CT’s partnership with HealthPass guarantees that small business employers in Connecticut will have a broad choice of health insurance products from which to select. With a “defined contribution” purchasing model, SHOP enables small employers to offer plans from multiple insurers to their employees with a fixed dollar contribution, and receive a single bill.
“We understand the importance of choice and affordability to small businesses and their employees. We know one size doesn’t always fit all and that individual employees have different needs. Our SHOP products offer broad carrier choice while allowing employers to budget and fix their costs for health insurance,” said Kevin Counihan, chief executive officer, Access Health CT. “We are delighted to partner with HealthPass and bswift to enable businesses with 50 or fewer employees to offer these products and experienced administrative and customer service in Connecticut.”
Small businesses that purchase health insurance for their employees through Access Health CT may qualify for discounts in the form of tax credits.
HealthPass was selected after a four-month process. The 36-month agreement between Access Health CT and HealthPass began April 12.
HealthPass has significant experience in running small business insurance exchanges since 1999 and currently provides support for small group insurance to nearly 30,000 members from 3,500 organizations, primarily through defined contribution plans. HealthPass plans to open an office in Stamford this summer with eight employees to start.
Access Health CT will ensure that participating health plans meet certain standards, and will facilitate competition and choice by rating the quality of each plan. Individuals and families buying coverage through the Exchange may qualify for tax credits on premiums. The Exchange will also coordinate eligibility and enrollment with state Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Programs.
More information is available at www.AccessHealthCT.com