Guide to health insurance for small business employees

Small business employees have several options for getting health insurance coverage. Here’s what you need to know about:

SHOP coverage

SHOP insurance plans are generally available to small businesses with 1-50 employees. If your employer offers health insurance through SHOP, you'll get offer information from your employer or its insurance company.

You’ll have the option to accept or decline your employer’s offer. Read the offer carefully. Make sure you understand the coverage and costs, including the premium, deductible, copayments, and coinsurance.

Note: If you’re considering coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace® for Individuals & Families (Individual Marketplace), but have a coverage offer from your employer, you may not qualify for income-based premium tax credits or savings through the Individual Marketplace.

Additional health coverage options

If you decline your employer’s offer or your employer doesn’t offer coverage, you have other options for getting coverage:

  • Marketplace for Individuals and Families: Employees of small businesses can enroll in qualified health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace® for Individuals & Families (also known as the “Individual Marketplace” or “exchange”). The federal government operates the Individual Marketplace at for most states. Some states run their own Individual Marketplaces. Enrolling through the Individual Marketplace is the only way to qualify for income-based premium tax credits or savings.
  • Other health insurance products and services: You can also buy a health insurance plan directly from an insurance company, through an agent or broker, or from an online seller. You can't get a premium tax credit or other savings based on your income if you buy a plan outside the Individual Marketplace. Learn more about other products and services that may be available to small business employees.


  • Contact the SHOP Call Center at 1-800-706-7893 (TTY: 711) weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET.