9/28/2015 10:14:43 AM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Director of Communications and Marketing
ST. PAUL, Minn.-MNsure has finalized partnerships with four certified broker agencies as part of the MNsure Small Business Enrollment Initiative. These agencies will promote small business enrollment through MNsure's Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). The partnerships are the result of a Request for Proposals MNsure issued in July.
The selected agencies will provide SHOP-specific consultation for small business employers of their surrounding communities. Face-to-face assistance from MNsure-certified brokers will be available.
"Our SHOP program has been quietly running in the background during the first two years of MNsure's operation," said interim CEO Allison O'Toole. "We are excited to bring the benefits of SHOP to the forefront, and think having this added support in the field will encourage small business owners to take a look at health insurance options for their employees."
The four lead agencies for this initiative include:
SHOP offers health insurance coverage that gives small businesses and nonprofit organizations the same clout in the health insurance market that large companies already enjoy. SHOP allows employees to select from a number of different medical and dental plans, and can provide potential tax savings for the employer.
"Partnering with brokers is a key component of MNsure's SHOP outreach strategy because these professionals can provide valuable support to employers who are providing coverage to their employees, some for the first time," said Karina Milosovich, SHOP director. "More than 65 percent of small groups enroll in MNsure SHOP with the assistance of a certified broker."
Starting in 2016, businesses with 1 to 50 employees are eligible to enroll year-round through MNsure SHOP.
"According to the Small Business Administration, 75 percent of Minnesota businesses employ fewer than 20 employees," said O'Toole. "If these employees are currently buying insurance on their own, or going without health insurance coverage, we believe we can provide a big benefit both to the employee and their employer."
The 2016 open enrollment period is scheduled to begin November 1, 2015, and end on January 31, 2016. Small groups and Minnesotans eligible for Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare can enroll year round. As of May 2014, 95 percent of Minnesotans have health coverage-the highest percentage in state history.