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Health law online sign-up delayed for small firms

September 27, 2013 • Business


President Barack Obama pauses while speaking about the Affordable Care Act, Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013, at Prince George’s Community College in Largo, Md. The president is promoting the benefits of his health care law before new insurance exchanges open for business next week. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Days before the debut of new online insurance markets, a couple of last-minute technical glitches with President Barack Obama’s health care law are making supporters anxious and giving opponents a new line of attack.

The administration said Thursday that small business owners who want to use insurance markets designed especially for them will have to wait until sometime in November before they can finish their sign-ups. They still can start shopping right away on Oct. 1. And even with the delay, they can get coverage for their employees by Jan. 1, when the law takes full effect.

In a potentially more significant delay affecting the law’s larger insurance market for individuals, the administration quietly told Hispanic groups on Wednesday that the Spanish-language version of the healthcare.gov website will not be ready to handle online enrollments for a few weeks. An estimated 10 million Latinos are eligible for coverage, and 4 million of them speak Spanish primarily.

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