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What is the SHOP Marketplace?


The Small Business health Options Program (SHOP) is an online Marketplace that was set up by the U. S. government. SHOP was designed for small businesses with 50 or fewer full time equivalent employees (FTE). It provides them with information about health insurance and allows them to compare insurance coverage’s prices and benefits side by side.


Buying health insurance through SHOP offers small businesses several advantages. For instance businesses with 25 or fewer FTE’s that have an average salary of $50,000 or less can qualify for the Small Business Health Tax Credit. The credit can be worth to up to 50% of a business’s contribution toward employee’s premium (up to 35% for tax-exempt employers). The Small Business Health Tax Credit is only available for plans purchased through SHOP. In addition buying through the market place gives small businesses the same buying power as large businesses.


The SHOP marketplace opened on October 1, 2013 and policies purchased through the program will become effective starting on January 1, 2014. Policies purchased through the Marketplace will provide all of the benefits, services, and protections that the Affordable Care Act provides. There is a SHOP marketplace in every state and they can be accessed at  


Purchasing insurance through SHOP is a four step process


Step 1. Create an account

Step 2. Complete an application

Step 3. Review various plan and make a decision about which plan is best for the business

Step 4. Make a selection and enroll for coverage

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