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Enrollment in the federally-facilitated health insurance marketplace for small businesses, called Small Business Health Options Program (FF-SHOP), has been delayed a year. FF-SHOP will let small business owners go online to compare health plans for their employees, but they must enroll directly with the issuer, agent or broker.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said that they plan to have the enrollment function of FF-SHOP ready by November 2014 for coverage that will begin January 2015. Also, small employers will not be able to get the tax credit through the FF-SHOP for 2014. Instead, they will be able to buy Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) directly from insurers, agents or brokers, and send an application to SHOP to find out if they are eligible for the tax credit.

While this delay impacts 35 states that rely on the FF-SHOP, it does not apply to 15 states running their own SHOPs.