An Affordable Health Insurance Program Designed Specifically For The Needs of Small Businesses
If you’re a small business owner in Colorado who wants to offer your employees affordable health insurance coverage that will keep them healthy, happy, and productive, the SHOP health insurance program might be just the ticket. The Small Business Health Options Program, to refer to the program by the official name, is designed specifically for the needs and budgets of smaller companies that do not fall under the larger umbrella of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) but want to provide health coverage to their employees anyway for all of the benefits it provides.
Offering your Southern Colorado employees health insurance will help you attract better talent, increase employee retention, reduce turnover, and improve productivity. But SHOP health insurance also has equally valuable financial incentives designed to encourage small business owners to enroll in a group health plan.
What Is SHOP Health Insurance?
As part of the ACA, the federal government established the SHOP program to make providing health insurance to small business employees more accessible and affordable (even though the law may not require them to do so).
Small employers (generally those with 1-50 employees) may be able to enroll in SHOP health insurance plans directly through an insurance company, through Connect for Health Colorado (the state’s official health insurance marketplace), or with the assistance of a SHOP-registered agent or broker like Preferred Insurance.
Related: What Should You Consider When Selecting a Group Health Insurance Plan?
Small Businesses Eligible For SHOP Health Insurance
If your company is eligible for a SHOP plan, you can generally enroll in a plan at any time. To be eligible to enroll in health insurance coverage through SHOP, your Colorado small business must:
- Have a primary business address in Colorado, where you’re purchasing coverage.
- Have at least one employee enrolling in health insurance coverage which is not the business owner, business partner, or spouse of an owner or partner.
- Have from 1 to 50 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees.
- Offer SHOP coverage to ALL full-time employees (generally those employees who work 30 or more hours each week).
SHOP Coverage Provides Options and Flexibility
The SHOP program provides small businesses plenty of choices and flexibility when for insurance coverage for employees, including:
- Choosing the type of coverage you offer and how much your company will contribute toward employee premiums.
- Selecting from several high-quality private health insurance plans that meet the specific needs of your business and employees.
- Electing to offer either health or dental coverage, or health and dental coverage. If you choose to offer dependent coverage as part of your health insurance package, the employee’s dependents can enroll in health, dental only, or both health and dental coverage.
- Enrolling in SHOP coverage any time of the year without waiting until the next Open Enrollment Period.
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Small Business Health Care Tax Credit
In addition to the benefits outlined above, enrolling in a SHOP plan can give your business significant tax advantages. Colorado small businesses that offer their employees health insurance coverage through a SHOP plan can receive tax credits of up to 50 percent of the premium expenses they incur during any two-year period.
Under IRS rules, an employer can generally claim the health care tax credit if they offer a SHOP health insurance plan and:
- Have fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees.
- Pay average wages less than $50,000 annually per full-time equivalent employee (indexed yearly for inflation).
- Cover at least 50 percent of the cost of employee-only health care coverage for each employee.
In addition to the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit, small business owners who offer healthcare to their employees can deduct 100 percent of all health insurance-related expenses that their company pays as ordinary business expenses under federal and state law.
Small Businesses Throughout Colorado Turn to Preferred Insurance For Their Health Insurance Needs
At Preferred Insurance, our experienced Colorado Springs small business health insurance brokers work with small businesses throughout Colorado to develop and implement group health insurance programs, including SHOP health insurance plans, that keep their employees and bottom lines healthy.
Our knowledgeable and accessible group health insurance brokers will answer all your questions and provide solutions best suited to your company’s needs.
Call Preferred Insurance today to schedule a free consultation about your small business health insurance needs.