Delay seen in health law feature for small firms

Obama administration proposes delay in employee plan choice for small companies

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration is proposing a one-year delay in a feature of the new health care law intended to give workers at small companies health plan choices similar to what employees of large businesses enjoy.

Starting Jan. 1 small companies with up to 100 workers will be able to buy coverage through new health insurance marketplaces called exchanges. These exchanges are the small business version of new markets also opening up for individuals.

As originally envisioned, employees would have been the ones to pick their plans. But now, for the first year, the employer will choose for the entire company.

Officials say the transition period is needed to smooth the introduction of the program.

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