To participate in the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Marketplace, employers must1:

  • Have a principal business address within the state where you’re buying coverage, or have an eligible employee with a primary worksite within the state where you’re buying coverage.
  • Have at least one common-law employee on payroll (not including a business owner or sole proprietor or their spouses on the payroll).
  • Employ 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees (FTEs), including part-time employees.

To calculate full-time equivalent employees when you apply for SHOP1:

  • Use the most recent year.
  • Exclude seasonal employees (those working fewer than 120 days a year) from all calculations.
  • Count the number of people who worked an average of 30 or more hours a week.
  • Add to this amount the number of hours worked per week by non-full time employees divided by 30.

1CMS Outreach and Education. Who Can Use SHOP. CareFirst accessed this information on September 29, 2014.

This information is provided for informational purposes only and should not be relied on as legal or tax advice.