The Affordable Care Act (ACA) allowed each state to have a competitive marketplace, known as an Affordable Health Insurance Exchange (Exchange), for individuals and small businesses to purchase private health insurance
New York currently operates a state-based exchange, New York State of Health (NYSOH).
Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP)
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), SHOPs allow small employers to provide their employees with a choice of health plan options and give small businesses the same purchasing power as large businesses.
A SHOP must allow employers the option to offer employees all qualified health plans at a level of coverage chosen by the employer—bronze, silver, gold or platinum. This is called the “employee choice model.” Under the employee choice model, the employer chooses a level of coverage and a contribution amount and employees then select any qualified health plans at that level. NYSOH has been offering the employee model to small employers since 2014.
In 2016, employers with between 1 and 100 employees will be allowed to participate in a SHOP. Starting in 2017, states have the option to let businesses with more than 100 employees buy large group coverage through the SHOP.
More information on the New York State Exchange is available through nystateofhealth.ny.gov.