Employers: There’s a new way to SHOP for coverage and get help


riecken_2012 (175x220)The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) is a new program that simplifies the process of buying health insurance for employers.

For 2014, the SHOP Marketplace is open to employers with 50 or fewer full-time-equivalent employees (FTEs). If you are self-employed, you won’t use SHOP, you’ll use the Health Insurance Marketplace for individuals and families at HealthCare.gov.

Here are 3 important reasons to use the SHOP Marketplace:

1. Employers can get high-quality coverage: All SHOP plans offer employees a set of 10 comprehensive benefits. They cover things like pre-existing conditions, pregnancy, hospitalizations, doctor’s visits, preventive care, prescriptions, and more.

2. Employers control coverage and costs: The SHOP Marketplace makes it easy to discover and compare health insurance options. Employers control the coverage offered and how much they pay toward employee premiums. And some small businesses may qualify for a tax credit worth up to 50% of health insurance premium costs.

3. Coverage is available in every state: Employers will have access to the SHOP Marketplace, no matter what state they do business in. In some states, employers will use their state’s website to apply for coverage. In other cases, employers will use HealthCare.gov. Visit HealthCare.gov to learn more about the SHOP Marketplace in your state.

Still have questions? Employers can call the Health Insurance Marketplace Small Employer call center during business hours to get their SHOP and small business questions answered by a customer service representative: 1-800-706-7893 or TTY: 1-800-706-7915. The call center is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST.

Want to learn more about SHOP before contacting the call center? Visit HealthCare.gov and answer a few quick questions. The website will provide a customized list of coverage options for your business, content tailored to your situation, and a checklist to help you get ready.