By January 2014, the option to participate in a health insurance exchange should be available to small employers. That’s when the Affordable Care Act requires states to establish an online marketplace where small business owners can purchase health insurance. These marketplaces will allow employers to pool their buying power and drive down the cost of insurance coverage.
The exchange will offer employers a choice of tiered categories of insurance packages, each with essential minimum benefits. This will allow easier comparison among plans. As an employer, you will decide what level of coverage to offer, and your employees may pick any plan offered within the exchange at your chosen coverage level.
The Department of Health and Human Services will define specific services that must be covered within these packages. This provision is designed to make sure everyone participating in the exchange has access to sufficient coverage.