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What is considered a small business?

 

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) a small business is an employer with 50 or fewer full time equivalent employees (FTE). That is the requirement for a business to take advantage of the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP).  SHOP is a new program that small business owners can use to purchase health insurance. The SHOP exchange also known as the SHOP marketplace opened up on October 1, 2014.  The exchange can be accessed at healthcare.gov.

 

Businesses with 50 or less employees are not required to offer their employees health insurance.  However if a business decides to buy health insurance there are some benefits. Small businesses that buy through SHOP may be eligible for generous tax credits and will have the same buying power as large businesses. There is a SHOP exchange for each of the fifty states and the District of Columbia. When you enter the website you will be directed to the state exchange of your businesses headquarters. The exchange will provide you with valuable insurance information such as how health insurance works, how SHOP works and what coverage’s are available for you. The exchange will also let you compare plans, by price, coverage’s, benefits and quality on a side by side basis.  In addition businesses will also be able to see if they are eligible for the Small Business Health Tax Credit. The credit is for businesses that have 25 FTE’s that make an average of $50,000 or less. The credit can be worth to up to 50% of your contribution toward employee’s premium (up to 35% for tax-exempt employers).  

 

Enrolling for SHOP can be done online from October1, 2013 through March 31, 2014.

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