Help for businesses

How can businesses get help?

Small businesses can get help with providing health coverage to their employees at the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace.

The SHOP Marketplace is open to employers with 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees (FTEs). This includes nonprofit organizations. You can apply for SHOP coverage any time. There are no restricted enrollment periods. Enrolling in a SHOP Marketplace plan is generally the only way to claim the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit.

How do you sign up for SHOP plans?

To sign up for SHOP health or dental plans, you can work with a SHOP-registered insurance agent or broker. Or you can work directly with your insurance company. 

You can no longer choose, apply for, enroll in, or manage coverage through

Learn more at How to work with a SHOP-registered insurance agent or broker.

How do you get health coverage if you are self-employed?

If you're self-employed and you have no employees, you can get health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace for individuals. You cannot get coverage through SHOP.

A new Virginia law broadened the state’s definition of “small employer.” It now includes self-employed individuals (sole proprietor businesses). This change allows self-employed individuals to buy a small business plan, but not a SHOP Marketplace plan. Self-employed individuals will still not qualify for the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit.