The Department of Health and Human Services is considering delaying the expansion of the Small Business Health Options Programs to employers with 50 to 99 employees — a move the Small Business Majority says would be disappointing.

“Expanding the small group market next year will increase the size of the insurance pool, which benefits the health care system overall,” Small Business Majority CEO John Arensmeyer said in a blog post Wednesday.

Currently, SHOP plans are available for businesses with fewer than 50 employees, and it is set to include employers with fewer than 100 workers next year. That’s exactly what Arensmeyer said should happen.

“We believe there is no legal basis to delay expansion of the small group market, as the Affordable Care Act clearly requires this feature,” he said. “[HHS] needs to move forward with the law as it stands, and ensure expansion of the small group is implemented in 2016.”

A delay “could be detrimental to SHOP and small businesses looking forward to this option,” Arensmeyer said.

“We believe delaying expansion of the small group market goes against the letter of the law and doesn’t do our nation’s job creators any favors. We hope HHS reconsiders this delay and ensures the small group expansion moves forward next year as planned.” 

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