Employer participation in the small group marketplaces, known as the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), is off to a slow start, with enrollment figures dwelling in the low thousands, and sometimes only in the hundreds. While SHOP has faced multiple challenges, benefit brokers have noted particular shortcomings with how states market the exchanges and major deficiencies with the content and value of benefit adviser training.

Brokers and agents have particularly been disappointed by how the new marketplaces fail to recognize and advertise the support brokers can offer in state marketing campaigns, which have focused instead on navigators and in-person assisters under contract to the exchanges, according to a recent Urban Institute report.

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