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The Wagner Law Group Description 

The Wagner Law Group, A Professional Corporation, is a nationally recognized ERISA & employee benefits, estate planning, employment, labor & human resources practice. 


Established in 1996, The Wagner Law Group has 23 attorneys engaged exclusively in employee benefits, estate planning and employment law. Seven of our attorneys are AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell as having very high to preeminent legal abilities and ethical standards. The firm is among the largest ERISA boutiques in the country. Our practice is national in scope, with clients in more than 40 states and several foreign countries.



Contact Info

The Wagner Law Group


  Integrity | Excellence


Massachusetts Office 

Tel: (617) 357-5200 

Fax: (617) 357-5250 

99 Summer Street 

13th Floor

Boston, MA 02110

Florida Office 

Tel: (561) 293-3590
Fax: (561) 293-3591
7108 Fairway Drive
Suite 125
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418


San Francisco Office

Tel: (415) 625-0002

Fax: (415) 358-8300

315 Montgomery Street

Suite 904

San Francisco, CA 94104





December 5, 2013


 State and Federal Law Alert


HHS Delays SHOP On-line Enrollments until November 2014


The Department of Health and Human Services ("HHS") has announced that small businesses will not be able to electronically enroll in the federal Small Business Health Option Program ("SHOP") until November 2014 (i.e., the 2015 open enrollment period). HHS has clarified that SHOP itself will not be delayed and that only the online enrollment component of the federal SHOP website will be postponed.


The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("PPACA") provides that, effective for 2014 plan years, individuals and small businesses can purchase qualified health plans ("QHPs") through state-level Health Care Exchanges ("Exchanges"). PPACA further provides that each state's Exchange will include a SHOP component to allow small employers with 50 or fewer employees to purchase QHPs for their employees. (See the Alert of 3/15/12.) HHS will operate a federal Exchange and SHOP components for each state that does not establish its own Exchange.


HHS's postponement of online SHOP enrollment only affects small businesses located in states where the federal government operates the PPACA-mandated Exchange. At this time, 14 states, including Massachusetts, New York and California, have established their own state-level Exchanges.


The federal SHOP Exchange opened on October 1, 2013, allowing small employers to start the application process and get an overview of available QHPs and premiums. However, because HHS has delayed online enrollment into SHOP until November 2014, small employers will have to enroll their employees through a process called "direct enrollment."


Direct enrollment requires small employers to enroll in QHPs through an agent or broker, or directly with an insurer. In addition, direct enrollment requires small employers to fill out a paper application to enroll in coverage offered through the federal Exchange. Employers may get help filling out paper applications by calling the toll-free SHOP Employer Call Center (800-706-7893).


Small employers need not apply for SHOP eligibility before enrolling, and will not be required to use the HealthCare.gov webpage. If a small employer is deemed ineligible to participate in SHOP, its employees will not automatically lose coverage but the employer will lose eligibility for the small business health care tax credit.


While affected employers cannot purchase coverage online, they can still use the federal website to compare available QHPs. In fact, employers can currently enter the ages of their employees to get more specific premium information, as well as compare plan features.


HHS has released a set of Frequently Asked Questions ("FAQs") on how SHOP will function until November 2014. These FAQs may be accessed at: http://marketplace.cms.gov/getofficialresources/publications-and-articles/faqs-on-shop-enrollment.pdf



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Pursuant to Internal Revenue Service Circular 230, we hereby inform you that any advice set forth herein with respect to US federal tax issues is not intended or written by The Wagner Law Group to be used and cannot be used, by you or any taxpayer, for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed on you or any other person under the Internal Revenue Code.


This Newsletter is provided for information purposes by The Wagner Law Group to clients and others who may be interested in the subject matter, and may not be relied upon as specific legal advice.  This material is not to be construed as legal advice or legal opinions on specific facts. Under the Rules of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, this material may be considered advertising.