The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace: What You Need to Know for Coverage
The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace began last year as part of the option for small businesses to get a health care tax credit. Your small business has to take part in SHOP in order to get that tax credit, though it’s well worth the effort when you consider the options available. This is especially true if you’ve grown frustrated recently at not having enough freedom to find better health coverage like bigger employers enjoy.
It’s never been easy for small businesses to have any purchasing power on buying health care plans until now. Before you take advantage of SHOP, however, you should read a full definition of what it is and what you can do with it. Not all small businesses are eligible for SHOP based on how you define what a small business is.
Also, you need to see what the true benefits are to remove any skepticism that your small business won’t have incentives of signing up. Fortunately, the enrollment procedure is quite simple, just in case you thought there were time limits as there are with other insurance plans.
Defining What SHOP is
Expanding on what SHOP is, you get more than just purchasing power. SHOP provides an excellent opportunity to pool risk on plans you don’t think are acceptable. Overall, you get considerably more options as a form of near customization on the type of health care plans needed for your employees.
You also can compare prices, which is something you’ve never been able to do before SHOP existed. This extends to not only health plans, but also dental plans.
The Benefits of Using SHOP
While you can say many of SHOP’s features above are benefits, it goes far beyond those in how it’s going to benefit you. You not only gain more power in choosing health plans for your business, you also give more power to your employees to find a plan suitable for them. The reason being is many states offer different health plan tiers, usually at a bronze, silver, gold, or platinum level.
With the above, your employees can decide how high or low they want the premiums. It gives them power to decide how much out-of-pocket costs they really want when a medical event occurs.
Even better for your side is that SHOP gives you the ability to control how much you pay toward employee premiums. You’ll also have control over how much actual coverage you want to provide.
All of this is easy to manage as well in the age of being connected everywhere. Managing occurs online with a portal available to choose your plan, and for paying all of your premiums. Your employees even have access where you can manage their participation in your SHOP plans. This means when you have to travel for business, you can access your account everywhere you go.
Who’s Eligible for SHOP?
Your definition of what makes a small business might differ from SHOP’s definition. You can only sign up if you have 50 or fewer full-time employees working for you. Keep in mind, though, that by January 2016, SHOP will increase the number to 100 employees, making the health plans more accessible to small businesses with slighter larger work forces.
At least 70% of your employees need to enroll in a SHOP plan, unless they sign up between Nov. 15 and Dec. 15 each year.
Enrolling in SHOP
There isn’t any slow snail-mail process involved in SHOP enrollment. Healthcare.gov is the main hub for all governmental health care, and it’s there where you can create your own marketplace account for SHOP signup. It’s truly a convenient way to get yourself on the right path with the health care you need while having management consolidated in one place.
Contact us here at SurmountHRM to learn more about SHOP and getting ACA compliance for your business.