Small business health insurance options for 2015

If you have a small business (1-50 employees), you're not required to offer your employees health insurance, but if  you do, you might qualify for tax credits.

Where to buy a health plan

If you have a small business with 1-50 employees, you have several options:

Small employer market - Any business with 1-50 employees can buy health insurance in the small employer market. Currently, there are 12 insurers selling more than 300 health plans. You buy directly from an insurance company or from an insurance agent or broker.

Washington state’s Exchange - Small businesses also can choose a health plan through Washington Healthplanfinder Business (www.wahbexchange.org) and may also qualify for tax credits.

Association health plans - Small businesses can buy health insurance through an association. But if the association is not a true large employer, the business cannot get a large employer plan, they must be sold a small employer plan.

Don’t buy a health plan - You can decide to not buy group health insurance and let employees buy their own individual health plans.

Tax credits for small business

If you have less than 25 employees with average annual salaries of less than $50,000 per year, you may qualify for tax credits (www.smallbusinessmajority.org) through the Washington Healthplanfinder Business (www.wahbexchange.org).

Options if you're self-employed

Even if you’re self-employed, you might qualify to buy small group health insurance if:

  • You have been in business for at least one year;
  • In the previous tax year, you earned at least 75 percent of your income from the business (if your business income falls below 75 percent in a tax year, you’ll no longer qualify for small group insurance); and
  • You file an IRS Form 1040(C) or (F).

Updated 05/05/2015

See also

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