Feds talk SHOPNews added by Benefits Pro on August 13, 2013
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By Allison Bell

Federal exchange regulators are trying to protect small business owners against efforts to make applications more complicated.

Gary Cohen, the director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, hammered home the need for simplicity in a new memo.

"Requests for information from application filers should minimize the burden on the applicant," Cohen says.

Exchange managers shouldn't add questions unrelated to the small-group exchange enrollment process, Cohen says.

Cohen issued the memo to give managers of the Small Business Health Options Program exchanges guidelines on customizing SHOP applications.

Today, at least 16 states and the District of Columbia are hoping to set up their own state-based SHOP exchanges.

CCIIO posted SHOP forms in May. The federally run exchanges will use applications forms based on the version posted on the Web. Builders of state-based SHOP exchanges can choose whether to use a lightly edited version of the federal application or develop their own application forms.

States can make changes such as adding the appropriate contact information, removing federal agency logos, changing the order of questions or tailor questions to make them more state-specific without getting federal approval, Cohen says.

To make other types of SHOP application changes will require federal approval.

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