In order to use the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace to offer health insurance to your employees, your business must meet all of these requirements:

You must have 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees (FTEs).

You must offer coverage to all your full-time employees — generally workers averaging 30 or more hours per week.

  • You don’t have to offer coverage to part-time employees — generally those averaging less than 30 hours per week or seasonal workers. (You can offer coverage to part-timers if you want to.)

In most states, at least 70% of the employees you offer insurance to must either enroll in your plan or have coverage from another source.

  • Use the SHOP Minimum Participation Rate Calculator to see how many of your employees must accept your offer.
    • If you don’t meet your minimum participation requirement, you can enroll in SHOP coverage between November 15 and December 15 any year. During this period you can enroll without meeting a minimum participation requirement.

You must have an office or employee work site within the state whose SHOP Marketplace you want to use.

Non-profit organizations can also use the SHOP Marketplace if they meet all the requirements.

Questions?

More answers: Eligibility to use the SHOP Marketplace

Are some states expanding SHOP to allow businesses with up to 100 employees participate?

Starting in 2016, some states may make the SHOP Marketplace available to businesses with up to 100 employees. If you have more than 50 employees and don’t know if you can use the SHOP Marketplace, contact your state Department of Insurance or the SHOP Call Center using the number above.

How do I know my state’s minimum participation rate?

In most states, at least 70% of the employees you offer coverage to must enroll in it or have coverage from another source — like a family member’s job, Medicare, Medicaid, the military (TRICARE), veterans programs, or individual health insurance.

States with different minimum participation rates:

  • Iowa: 75%
  • Nevada: 75%
  • New Hampshire: 75%
  • New Jersey: 75%
  • South Dakota: 75%
  • Tennessee: 50%
  • Texas: 75%

The SHOP Minimum Participation Rate Calculator takes your state’s rules into account and tells you how many of your employees must accept your offer. Before using this tool, you may want to find out from your employees if they're interested in health coverage you may offer, and if they already have coverage from another source.

See your options if you don’t meet the minimum participation rate (PDF).