Important Deadlines for the New Small Business Insurance Marketplaces

Grant Lahmann

The new small business health insurance marketplace is up and running! Known as the Small Business Health Options Program, or SHOP for short, this federal insurance marketplace is available nationally to all small business owners if their state does not have its own specific marketplace. Visit this link to see if your state has its own marketplace.

SHOP enables employers who wish to offer health coverage to their employees at any time during the year to do so now. Below are some key dates to remember when planning to enroll with SHOP to make it easier and more convenient for small businesses and their employees.

  • If you want your employees’ coverage to begin by January 1, 2014, the deadline to enroll is December 23. If you miss the Dec. 23 cut-off date, small business owners can still enroll their employees at any point throughout the year in order to acquire coverage.
  • If employee enrollments are submitted between the 1st and the 15th of any month, group coverage will begin the first day of the following month. For example, if you enroll on Jan. 12, 2014, your coverage will begin Feb. 1, 2014.
  • Enrollments submitted after the 15th of the month will have to wait until the second following month. For example, if you enroll on Jan.20, 2014, your coverage won’t begin until March 1, 2014.

For more information about SHOP, enrollment dates and coverage plans, please visit And don’t forget to visit our very own health coverage guide which contains a wealth of information for small business owners regarding enrollment, the Affordable Care Act and the healthcare system in general.