The provision of the Affordable Care Act that calls for states to establish a Small Business Health Options Program is referred to as a “SHOP exchange.” The fundamental mission of SHOP exchanges is to create a well-functioning health insurance marketplace providing an array of affordable, high-quality health insurance plans for small businesses and their employees.
SHOP exchanges can help the large number of small businesses and their employees who continue to struggle with escalating health costs. Health insurance premiums for these employers have grown 113 percent over the last decade. But because of their smaller scale and thinner margins, they are less able than other employers to absorb these increasing costs.
This report provides a roadmap for states, policymakers, health reform advocates, and small-business leaders as they begin to set up health exchanges for businesses.