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'SHOP' Health Insurance Marketplaces Providing Small Businesses with Choice of Insurers, Plans

Seventeen states, along with the District of Columbia, have chosen to run their own ‘SHOP’ marketplaces to enable small businesses to buy health insurance for their employees, a new Commonwealth Fund–supported study by Sarah Dash and colleagues at Georgetown University finds. The federal government is operating SHOP marketplaces in the remaining states. SHOP, or the Small Business Health Options Program, is open to employers with 50 or fewer full-time-equivalent employees, and tax credits are available for employers with fewer than 25 employees making an average of less than $50,000. According to the study, nearly all states that are running their own SHOPs have attracted enough competition to offer small-business employers and employees a choice of insurers and plans, though offerings vary widely.

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