Understanding the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace

constdayThe Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace is designed for small employers who want to provide affordable, flexible and convenient health and dental coverage to their employees.

To use the SHOP Marketplace, your business or non-profit organization must have 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees (FTEs).  It’s important to note, however, that some states may use different employee maximums for 2016. You can start offering SHOP coverage to your employees any time of year.

Here’s five reasons why you should use the SHOP Marketplace for your employee insurance needs.

  1. The SHOP Marketplace offers high-quality plans from private insurance companies.
  2. You have choice and flexibility. You can:
  • Offer your employees one plan, or let them choose from multiple plans.
  • Offer only health coverage, health and dental coverage, or only dental coverage.
  • Choose how much you pay toward your employees’ premiums, and whether to offer coverage to their dependents.
  • Decide how long your employees’ initial enrollment period is, and how long new employees must wait before joining the plan.
  1. You can handle everything online — applying, choosing plans, managing your coverage, and paying your premiums — whenever it’s convenient for you.
  2. You can use your current agent or broker, work with any SHOP-registered agent or broker, or handle everything yourself. You won’t pay more if you use an agent or broker. See how to work with an agent or broker in SHOP.
  3. If you have fewer than 25 employees, you may qualify for a Small Business Health Care Tax Credit worth up to 50% of your premium cost.

If you’re self-employed with no employees, visit the Health Insurance Marketplace for Individuals & Families. The SHOP Marketplace is for business with at least one full-time equivalent (FTE) employee other than owners, partners, or family members. Learn about coverage if you’re self-employed.

For more information on the SHOP Marketplace, visit https://www.healthcare.gov/small-businesses/employers/.