On July 5, 2013, HHS released technical guidance, in the form of questions and answers, applicable to the Federally-Facilitated Small Business Health Options Program (FF-SHOP). The guidance gives a clearer picture of how FF-SHOPs will operate and helps eligible employers to begin planning for the first FF-SHOP open enrollment period (November 15, 2013 through December 15, 2013).
- Premium rate factors will be determined by the employer's principal business address, not the employee's home address;
- Employers will not be allowed to offer varying coverage for different classes of employees;
- Employers may cover retirees through the FF-SHOP, but retirees must pay the same contribution rate as active employees;
- COBRA enrollees are eligible for FF-SHOP coverage and may be included in minimum participation counts;
- Insurers will be required to add domestic partners as dependents to the employee's coverage, if the employer provides for such coverage; and
- Employers will be notified 90 days before FF-SHOP coverage ends, allowing them to make decisions regarding continuing coverage. If an employer elects to remain with the same plan as the previous year, renewal will happen automatically