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When you buy health coverage for your employees through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace, you may qualify for a tax credit worth up to 50 percent of your premium contributions.

The new Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) Calculator helps small employers determine if they are eligible to buy SHOP coverage for their employees, while the new SHOP Tax Credit Estimator lets small employers learn the size of the tax credit they could get for contributing to coverage for their employees through the SHOP.

Following are some key things you should know about the tax credit and applying for SHOP:

  • Employers with fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees may be eligible for the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit, worth up to 50 percent of employer premiums contributions, if their employees make an average of $50,000 a year or less.
  • The tax credit will be available to eligible employers for two consecutive taxable years.
  • The tax credit may be available to eligible tax-exempt employers who could receive up to 35 percent of employer premium contributions, and can access the credit as a refund.
  • Generally, the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit is available for eligible employers purchasing SHOP health plans.
  • Visit IRS.gov for the most up to date information and guidance on claiming this tax credit.

Even if you’re a small employer who does not qualify for a small business tax credit, you may still purchase coverage through SHOP.

What’s new in the SHOP Marketplace for 2015 coverage

  • As of Nov. 15, 2014, you are able to apply, compare plans and enroll in a SHOP plan online.
  • Your employees will be able to enroll in your plan online too, making the process easier for both of you.
  • In some states, you will be able to offer more than one plan to your employees, thus increasing their choices and letting them find a health plan that works for them.
  • Health insurance agents and brokers registered with the SHOP Marketplace will have special online features that make it easier for them to help you apply, choose coverage, enroll, and manage your coverage, if you authorize them to help.

When you are logged in to the new SHOP online application, you’ll be able to search by zip code for agents or brokers registered with the SHOP Marketplace.

For more information call SHOP Small Employer Call Center at 1-800-706-7893. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

COURTESY OF HEALTHCARE.GOV

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