The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace helps small businesses provide health coverage to their employees.
The SHOP Marketplace is open to employers with 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees (FTEs). This includes non-profit organizations. You can apply for SHOP coverage any time, there’s no restricted enrollment period like there is in the individual Marketplace. Additionally, enrolling in a SHOP Marketplace plan is generally the only way to claim the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit.
There’s a new way to sign up for SHOP health and/or dental plans that start on or after January 1, 2018. You can either work with a SHOP-registered insurance agent or broker or work directly with your insurance company. You can no longer select, apply for, enroll in or manage coverage through Healthcare.gov.
Find more information about working with a SHOP-registered agent or broker or locate one in your area.
If you're self-employed with no employees, you can get health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace for individuals, but not through SHOP. However, a new Virginia law broadened the states definition of “small employer” to include self-employed individuals (sole proprietor businesses). This change allows self-employed individuals to purchase a small business plan, but not a SHOP Marketplace plan. They will still not be eligible for the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit.