Health Insurance for Small Businesses

The health insurance market in Maine offers many plan choices to businesses with 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees. More information about small group plans can be found below and in the Bureau's Consumer Guide to Small Business Health Insurance (PDF).

For information and an application for the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) tax credit, see the Information for Small Businesses page at CoverME.gov. The site also has a tool to help compare costs when coverage is provided via a Small Group Plan, an Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangement (ICHRA), or by raising wages. A broker can provide assistance as you weigh the options, and the CoverME.gov site also provides a broker locator tool.

Premiums. How will you divide the cost between you and your employees? Keep in mind that if you have fewer than 25 employees, it’s possible you could qualify for a SHOP tax credit. The Bureau has compiled the following information on Small Group premiums:

Cost Sharing. Depending on the plan, the insurance company will pay a certain amount of medical expenses and you and your employees will pay the rest. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has created standardized levels of coverage into metal levels — Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum – to more easily compare plans. In general, plans with lower cost-sharing will have higher premiums, and plans with lower premiums will have higher cost-sharing.

Networks, Prescription Formularies, Exclusions and Limitations. Each plan has a network of health care providers and hospitals. Think about whether the network will adequately serve you and your employees, based on where these providers are located. Each plan also has a drug formulary that can be viewed before purchasing; the formulary lists which drugs are covered and how much you and your employees will have to pay for each. Also consider whether any procedures are excluded by the policy and whether limits exist on the number of times you or your employees can see certain providers.

Service. A company’s track record is an important consideration; a company that provides superior customer service may be worth additional cost. The Bureau’s Health, Disability and Long-Term Care Insurance Complaint Comparison (PDF) provides the rate of consumer complaints received by some of the companies selling health insurance in Maine. Other small business owners or individuals may also be able to recommend an insurance company, based on the service they’ve received.

Helpful Resources

See how to contact us, and read about how we can, and can't, assist you (PDF).

Find more resources at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners