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.