Health insurance for businesses

Offering health coverage is a major decision for your business. When looking for a plan that fits the needs of your business and employees, you should carefully consider things like the cost to you and your employees, and the health services covered.

For a basic guide on some health insurance products and services that may be available to small businesses, check out these resources. You can also contact a licensed agent or broker for more help.

Note: Business owners with no employees can use the Marketplace for individuals and families to enroll in a health plan that best fits their needs. Learn more about coverage options for self-employed individuals here.

Group health insurance coverage

A group health insurance plan, like a plan purchased through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) or otherwise from a private insurance company, provides coverage to eligible employees. Business owners can offer their employees one plan or a selection of plans to choose from.

Small employers (generally those with 1-50 employees) may be eligible to purchase coverage through SHOP.

Enrolling in a SHOP plan is generally the only way for an eligible small employer, including non-profits, to claim the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit.

If there are no SHOP plans available in your area, or your business is a large employer, you can work with an insurance company or licensed agent or broker to find out what group plans may be available to you, or learn more using the resources below.

Health reimbursement arrangements

Health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) are a type of group health plan. HRAs allow employers to help their employees pay for medical expenses, including premiums for individual coverage in some cases.

Health Savings Accounts and other tax-favored health plans

There are various health plans that are designed to give individuals tax advantages to offset health care costs. These include: Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), Health Flexible Spending Arrangements (FSAs), and Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs).

For more details on tax-favored health plans, refer to IRS Publication 969.

Association health plans

Certain associations can sponsor group health plans that allow small businesses to band together to obtain health coverage as if they were one large employer.

Short-term health insurance

Short-term, limited-duration insurance is a type of health insurance coverage in the individual market that was primarily designed to fill gaps in coverage that may occur when an individual is transitioning from one plan or coverage to another plan or coverage, such as in between jobs.

These products are not considered Marketplace coverage and they may not be available in all states. They may cover different benefits than Marketplace plans and you won’t be able to qualify for premium tax credits.

Learn more about new rules for short-term health plans.