Small Group Market
The small group market for health insurance coverage includes small employers with 2-50 employees. Individuals that are self-employed or have no employees are generally not able to purchase coverage in the small group market, but may access coverage in the individual market.
Federal Tax Credits for Small Businesses
If you (1) have fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees; (2) pay employees an average annual wage that's less than $50,000; and (3) pay at least half of your employees' health insurance premiums, you may qualify for a federal tax credit to offset the cost of your insurance.
The Health Care Tax Credit for small businesses has been available since 2010. Beginning in 2014, the federal tax credit will increase from a maximum of 35% to up to 50% of your contribution toward employees' premium costs (up to 35% for tax-exempt employers). However, beginning in 2014, the tax credit will only be available for small employers that purchase coverage through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). The SHOP is the name of the small group health insurance exchange that the federal government is establishing in South Carolina.
For more information, contact the SHOP at www.healthcare.gov/marketplace/shop or call 1 (800) 706-7893 (Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm EST). You may also visit the IRS webpage entitled Small Business Health Care Tax Credit for Small Employers, accessible by clicking here.