Posted at 8:43 AM
Created on July 5, 2013
The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) is a new program that simplifies the process of buying health insurance for your small business.
The SHOP Marketplace gives you choice and control over health costs.
You control the coverage you offer and how much you pay toward employee premiums.
You can compare health plans online on an apples-to-apples basis, which helps you make a decision that's right for your business.
You may qualify for a small business health care tax credit worth up to 50% of your premium costs. You can still deduct from your taxes the rest of your premium costs not covered by the tax credit. Beginning in 2014 it is available only for plans purchased through SHOP.
Compare plans and apply online
The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) is designed for busy small employers with 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees. With one online application, on your own or with the help of an agent, broker, or other assister, you can compare price, coverage, and quality of plans in a way that's easy to understand.
You can enroll starting October 1, 2013 for coverage starting as soon as January 1, 2014. You can also enroll and begin coverage any time after January 1, 2014.
You decide what you'll pay toward employee premiums, and then your employees can enroll.
There will be a SHOP Marketplace in each state. You must have an office or employee work site within the SHOP's service area to use that particular SHOP. The online application will guide you to the right SHOP for you.
How to know if you qualify for the SHOP Marketplace
In 2014, SHOP is open to employers with 50 or fewer full-time equivalent (FTE) employees. Beginning in 2016, all SHOPs will be open to employers with up to 100 FTEs: If you're self-employed with no employees, you can get coverage through the individual market Health Insurance Marketplace, but not through SHOP.
If you plan to use SHOP, you must offer coverage to all of your full-time employees–generally those working 30 or more hours per week on average.
In many states, at least 70% of your full-time employees must enroll in your SHOP plan. See “How many of my employees must enroll in SHOP?” on the dropdown menu below for more information.
Originally posted at Healthcare.gov