How to navigate the health insurance market to find the best plan for your business

Small group health insurance can be confusing, and the health insurance market can be an asset to small businesses. However, even the market can be a bit overwhelming for business owners, especially if they are tackling this venture for the first time.

Like any other asset or business investment, owners want to be sure to the extent they can that their purchase of a small group health insurance plan will be the best one.

But how do you know? And how can you best navigate the small business health insurance market?

Explanation of the health insurance market

Like many other government-related software and services, various abbreviations and terms for the same thing are common. For example, you may have heard or used the terms “marketplace,” “exchange,” or even “Obamacare” when referring to government-run healthcare plan offerings.

But what is it actually?

Government website at This explanation of the Health Insurance Marketplace® offers,

A service that helps people shop for and sign up for health insurance. The federal government operates the health insurance marketplace, available at, for most states. Some states run their own marketplaces. The Health Insurance Marketplace® (also known as a “marketplace” or “exchange”) provides Health plan shopping and registration services through websites, call centers and personal assistance.

The health site also notes that small businesses can use the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) marketplace to provide health insurance for their employees.

Simply put, individuals and families can take advantage of the federal or state health exchange, while small businesses—defined as those with between 1 and 50 full-time employees—must take advantage of the Small Business Health Options Marketplace program, or Shop.


Look at the shopping store

Of course, as a small business owner, you’re also free to shop around for company health plans on your own, directly with insurance companies, or with the help of a licensed insurance broker or agent.

For many owners, taking advantage of the Marketplace is a relatively easy way to navigate it. The first hurdle, of course, is determining your company’s eligibility for SHOP. as ExplainAnd

To be eligible to enroll in health insurance through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), your small business or nonprofit must:

  • Have a primary business address in the state where you purchase coverage.

  • You have at least one employee enrolled in coverage who is not the owner, business partner, or spouse of the owner or business partner.

  • You have 1 to 50 full-time employees (FTE).

  • Offer SHOP coverage to all full-time employees. “

by completing The form located here You can quickly navigate the first step towards accessing the shopping store offers.

Points to consider with health insurance market plansPoints to consider with health insurance market plans

Many state health exchanges offer programs for small businesses, including California, for example. What this means is that some aspects of eligibility and other factors can differ from those of SHOP Marketplace.

Case in point, in California, qualifying businesses must have at least one employee but no more than 100 eligible employees (as opposed to just 50) and meet certain contribution and participation requirements. In addition, the company must have at least one employee who receives a W-2, and the majority of eligible employees must live in California.

Known as Covered California for Small Business (CCSB), a government exchange program helps owners find health insurance for their employees that matches employee budgets.

In addition, using the CCSB portal allows owners to compare and choose health insurance plans, costs, doctors, and hospitals, plus have a direct hand in controlling costs by choosing a plan that best fits their employees’ needs and company budget.

Using the state’s health insurance marketplace allows owners to choose from HMO and PPO plans with the following providers:

  • Blue Shield California
  • Healthnet
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Oscar
  • Sharp health plan

K Blog article In Health for California points out that partnering with an agency can make the process simpler. Experienced agents can answer your questions about insurance exchanges and the best plans for your small business.

Let JC LEWIS Insurance Services help you make the right choice of health coverage

JC Lewis Insurance Services wants to be your partner of choice in small group health insurance.

With over five decades of experience and the ability to offer only the highest quality health insurance plans, we are more than capable of helping you navigate the waters of health insurance. In addition, JC Lewis Insurance Services only works with leading health insurance companies that are licensed to do business in the states in which we operate.

As a family owned and operated health insurance agency located in Santa Rosa, California, we’re also a small business, and we understand the special needs and challenges that business owners face. In addition to being specialists in finding and administering medical insurance plans for small businesses, we are also licensed and approved by every insurance company we represent.

So, whether you’re considering small group health insurance for you and your employees or are simply looking to make changes to your existing plan, we understand that you likely have questions and concerns.

Your questions about health coverage insurance are always welcome, and you can be confident that JC Lewis Insurance Services will help you find the right solution for your needs.

JC Lewis – Make us your partner of choice to help you make the right decision for your health coverage needs.


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