Help for small businesses to compare health plans

In 2010 California created the first Affordable Insurance Marketplace, called Covered California. Starting in 2014 Covered California will help individuals and small businesses to compare health plans, get answers to questions, find out if they are eligible for tax credits for private insurance or health programs and enroll in a health plan that meets their needs. For small employers, Covered California aims to level the playing field and offer better choices at lower costs.

Covered California makes health care easier and faster

Covered California has two separate programs: the Individual Marketplace and the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). Think of the SHOP as a hub that aggregates plans and acts as your advocate and negotiator with insurance companies. It organizes qualified health plans, gets information on their prices and benefits, enrolls your employees and consolidates billing. Employers choose how much of the share of the premium to pay and can offer plans from several insurance companies while receiving a single bill and writing a single check.

In 2014 the SHOP will serve businesses with 2-50 employees and potentially up to 100 employees, depending on actions by the Legislature. In 2017 all employers with 100 or fewer employees may join. States may allow businesses with more than 100 employees to participate after 2017.

More Advantages of Covered California:

  • It will qualify health plans offering coverage through it – (certifying, recertifying and decertifying).
  • It will rate each plan offered through it on the basis of relative quality and price.
  • It will standardize consumer information on qualified health plans.
  • It will provide an electronic calculator so businesses can determine the cost of coverage after applying for premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions.
  • It will operate a website and toll-free telephone hotline so businesses can compare information on qualified health plans and can apply for and purchase coverage.