Small Businesses

Does the SHOP Marketplace offer any cost savings or financial help?

Yes. Arkansas SHOP offers potential cost savings to employers and employees. Arkansas SHOP provides access to tax credits for the majority of small businesses (with fewer than 25 employees), reducing the cost of providing health insurance. For employees, Arkansas SHOP provides access to plans with comprehensive health benefits. There are no lifetime limits to benefits, and no restrictions for pre-existing conditions. Also, Arkansas SHOP provides options for compliance with federal requirements, helping employers and employees avoid costly penalties.

How can I calculate the tax credit for my business?

Qualifying businesses may receive a Small Business Health Care Tax Credit. The tax credit is worth up to 50 percent of your contribution toward your employee’s premium costs, and up to 35 percent for tax-exempt employers.

The tax credit is highest for small businesses that employ fewer than 10 people who are paid an average of $25,000 per year or less. This means that the smaller the business, the larger the tax credit available.

You can complete the calculations on your own by estimating the number of employees being offered coverage, their wages and your contribution to the employees’ premium.


  • Number of employees: 10
  • Wages: $250,000 total, or $25,000 per employee
  • Employer contribution to employee premiums: $70,000
  • Tax credit amount: $35,000 (50 percent of employer’s contribution)
  • My Arkansas Insurance has resources that can help you estimate how much financial help you will receive.
  • Certified agents and brokers have resources that can help you estimate how much tax credit you may receive.
How do I choose a plan that works best for my business?

Choosing the plan that works best for your business is important, and to do so follow these steps.

  • First, assess your employees’ needs.
    • Plan options such as offering dependent coverage or dental plans are examples of considerations to make before selecting a plan.
  • Second, understand the difference between premiums and out of pocket costs.
    • Premiums are what the employee will pay every month for insurance coverage.
    • Out of pocket costs are the payments the employee will be responsible for after medical care.
  • Third, consider the percentage of premium your business is able to pay towards employee plans, taking into account your calculated small business tax credit.
  • Fourth, use the tools online at to shop around for plan options. Then choose the premium amount that works best for your business and your employees.
How do I enroll in my employer's SHOP plan?

The easy-to-use Arkansas SHOP website offers simplicity and clarity for Arkansas employees looking to purchase a quality, affordable health coverage from their small-business employer. Follow this seven-step process to enroll:

  1. Get your SHOP participation code from your employer
  2. Get timeline information about accepting offer from Employer selected coverage options
  3. Visit website or schedule an appointment with an assister
  4. Create an account online
  5. Compare plans
  6. Select and enroll in a plan
  7. Determine how to pay your monthly premium
How do I enroll my business in SHOP?

Here are the steps you will need to take to offer your employees health coverage:

  1. Set up an account at
  2. Review plans and set your contribution and employee enrollment period
    1. You will be able to determine the amount of time employees have to enroll in the SHOP plan you are providing. Note there is a 60 day maximum time period for enrollment.
  3. Offer your employees a SHOP insurance plan
    1. After selecting a plan, you can then offer it to your employees. Providing clear instruction and the participation code for employees to opt in to the offered coverage.
  4. Track your employee’s participation online.
How do I get pre-tax benefits?

Arkansas SHOP offers quality, affordable health insurance plans by providing employers with an easy-to-administer program that benefits employees, and saves money. By enrolling in Arkansas SHOP, you can help your employees avoid paying a fine of hundreds of dollars for not having health coverage.

  • Arkansas SHOP will enable businesses with less than 25 employees that meet certain salary requirements to receive federal tax credits.
  • Businesses are encouraged to talk to their broker about the benefits of pre-tax contributions, which can save your business money.
How do I know if my business qualifies for SHOP?

Arkansas SHOP isn’t for all business. Only businesses with 2 to 100 employees can qualify for plans offered through this marketplace and receive tax credits.

How Do Small Businesses Qualify for My Arkansas Insurance coverage?

Small businesses that qualify to use Arkansas SHOP meet the following criteria:

  • Have 2 to 100 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees; note that beginning January 1, 2016 My Arkansas SHOP will enroll businesses with up to 100 FTE employees
  • At least 75 percent of employees must enroll in the SHOP plan selected by the employer
  • Although employees may refuse an employer’s SHOP coverage offering, that does not count against a business when determining if they are to be penalized for failing to offer quality, comprehensive health coverage
If an employer exceeds 100 employees, are they ineligible to use SHOP?

No. In 2016 a group with more than 100 Full Time Employees (FTEs) will not be able to enroll in SHOP. If a group enrolls in SHOP in 2016 and grows to over 100 they will be allowed to remain in SHOP. Groups with more than 100 Full Time Employees should contact an agent or broker for group insurance options.

If my business doesn’t qualify for a tax credit, why enroll in SHOP?

SHOP is an option for small groups and every business should look at all their options. SHOP plans have comprehensive benefits and are community rated and may be a better fit compared to other group plans in the marketplace.