Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP)

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides health care coverage options for small business owners (50 employees or less) through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). Beginning in 2016, all SHOPs will be open to employers with up to 100 employees. Here, we provide 10 "need-to-know" items and other resources that may be helpful to you, your employees and your practice.

Access additional information about health care reform.

10 Things to Know About SHOP

  • SHOP is the health insurance exchange/marketplace for small businesses that helps small businesses purchase health insurance.
  • Small business owners such as physical therapist practices are not required under the ACA to provide employees with health insurance, but may qualify for tax credits if they do offer employees health insurance through the SHOP.
  • SHOP open enrollment is from October 1, 2013, through March 31, 2014. Coverage would begin January 1, 2014.
  • Additionally, you can apply for insurance any time in 2014, with coverage starting the following month.
  • The ACA requires employers subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (generally employers with at least 1 employee and $500,000 in annual revenue) to provide marketplace and health insurance coverage notification to all employees by October 1, 2013.
  • Each state will have its own SHOP exchange/marketplace, which may be combined with the exchange/marketplace for individuals and families.
  • In states where the federal government is running the health insurance exchanges, small businesses will be able to offer one health plan to their employees. In states with state based exchanges, business owners may be able to offer multiple health plans to their staff, but this will be at each state's discretion. Check with your state's SHOP marketplace to find out your options.


Making Sense of Health Care Reform: SHOP (.pdf) Members Only Icon
FAQs on SHOP requirements.

State-by-State Marketplace Profiles
Kaiser Foundation resource which provides state specific Exchange/Marketplace profiles, including SHOP information.

Action Plan
Checklist for Choosing Health Insurance for your small business.
"Everything small business owners and their advisors need to know about offering health insurance. An unbiased resource on cost estimates, tax savings, coverage options, legal rights, and more."

Small Business Tools
Small business advocacy group founded and run by small business owners with resources for small businesses on health care reform.

Small Business Health Insurance Premium Tax Credit Calculator
Provided by

National Center for Family Professional Partnerships
The NCFPP is charged with helping families and professionals understand the ACA and helping families access the benefits of the ACA.

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