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Does Your Small Business SHOP?


Financial Fitness November logoThe recent government shut down might have temporarily delayed the Small Business Health Options Program, but now is as good a time as any to SHOP. Karen Stern, partner in charge of BSW Small Business Services, discusses the benefits of the Marketplace in this month’s “Financial Fitness” column, as featured in Small Business Monthly.

SHOPping may be rewarding! The SHOP (Small Business Health Options Program) Marketplace enables employers to simplify the process of buying health insurance for small businesses by comparing prices, coverage and quality of plans. Plan enrollment commenced Oct. 1, and health coverage through SHOP can start as early as Jan. 1.

Advantages of SHOP:

  • Cost control of the coverage offered and the amount paid toward employee premiums
  • Ability to compare health plans that make sense for the employees and employer
  • Tax savings – companies may qualify for a small-business health care tax credit worth up to 50% of the premiums

How to qualify:

  • You must employ 50 or fewer full-time-equivalent (FTE) employees in 2014
  • Starting in 2016, all SHOPs will be open to employers with up to 100 FTE employees
  • Coverage must be offered to all FTE employees (working at least 30 hours per week)
  • In many states, at least 70% of your FTE employees must enroll in your SHOP plan
  • If someone is self-employed with no employees, coverage can be obtained through the Health Insurance Marketplace, not SHOP

Did you know that starting in 2014:

Health insurance plans can’t refuse to provide coverage or charge more because of a pre-existing condition? One exception – a “grandfathered individual health insurance plan,” not purchased through an employer, can still not cover pre-existing conditions.

Most people must have health coverage or pay a fee that will increase over time and is due when taxes are filed each year? Some exemptions from this fee may apply in certain special circumstances.


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