MNSURE's small business options will be ahead of other states

Workers at small businesses that buy health insurance on MNSURE -- Minnesota's new online marketplace -- will have access to features that will be delayed in many other states.

The federal health care law calls for a system that allows small businesses to buy employee health coverage on a so-called exchange that lets workers choose from a variety of health plans ... allowing more choice than the employer picking one plan for all.

The Obama administration, which is scrambling to put together exchanges to operate in more than 30 states, said that capability won't be available next year as planned.

But MNSURE's executive director, April Todd-Malmlov, said the exchange Minnesota is developing will offer small business employees a range of choices on its first day of operation.

"We know that employers are very much looking forward to it. So we are definitely planning on having it available," Todd-Malmlov said.

The law defines small businesses as firms that employ up to 100 workers.