Open Enrollment for Small Business Owners: How to Offer Coverage

Link to Open Enrollment

Open enrollment isn’t just about buying new health insurance or changing your health insurance plan; small businesses owners can also take advantage of the changing prices and plans available during this open enrollment period. Although the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) does not require small businesses with 1 to 50 employees to provide health insurance to their employees, many small business owners are choosing to offer health insurance because it gives them a competitive edge in the labor market. If you want to attract (and keep) the best employees, offering and contributing to a health insurance plan is an excellent way to help your business succeed and grow.

Offering health care to employees also helps fuel the common good. Small businesses are an integral part of our nation’s economy. There are over 23 million small businesses in the United States, and they provide over half (55%) of all the jobs in America and account for 66% of all new jobs created – and have been since the 1970s. Plus, the number of small businesses in the United States each year continues to grow; since 1982, the number of small businesses in America has grown by 49 percent! Providing all those small business employees with health coverage could have a significant impact on overall health and wellness in the U.S.

So, how can small businesses offer health insurance? The ACA has made offering affordable, flexible health insurance to your employees simple by establishing the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), and businesses no longer have a designated open enrollment date wherein they must buy new health insurance coverage – they can apply for new coverage at any time throughout the year and it will go into effect on the first of the following month. Tax credits are also available for certain small businesses offering health insurance if they contribute at least 50 percent of employees’ premium costs. For more details about the tax credits available and to calculate your business’ possible tax credit, visit the section of Covered California’s website specifically for small businesses.

The great thing about SHOP is that it gives employees freedom and flexibility to choose a plan that works best for them. As a small business owner, you define the level of coverage that you want to offer, how much you want to contribute for premiums, and other details; your employees can then choose a plan within that level that best suits their needs.

SHOP doesn’t just give your employees the benefits of flexibility though; as a small business offering health insurance through SHOP, Covered California will handle almost all of the complicated details – they will take care of enrollment, eligibility, and renewals as well as premium billing, commission payments, and other details. Basically, small business owners only need to worry about making a single payment to Covered California for the premium cost contribution.

To learn more about SHOP coverage and how you can enroll, visit Covered California’s website. Whether you’re looking to provide coverage for your small business or you’re encouraging your employees to buy new individual coverage through the health insurance marketplace, make sure Meritage Medical Network is included in your plan. We are a California healthcare network representing our local physician members. We provide health care and benefits for HMO members in Marin, Napa, and Sonoma Counties, and our expert medical and administrative staff are dedicated to ensuring that you receive the highest quality health care available. Visit our website to see why so many small businesses and individuals are purchasing insurance plans that cover Meritage Medical Network!


Link to Open Enrollment
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