Small business expansion in 2016

What you should know

Historically, market rules have generally defined small groups as 2 to 50 eligible employees. As a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), market rules will change in 2014 to define a small group as having 1 to 100 employees. For plan years beginning in 2014 and 2015, states may choose to define a small group as having no more than 50 employees. California has chosen to define small groups as having 1 to 50 employees until 2016.

Starting in 2016, groups with 51 to 100 employees will have the option of purchasing coverage directly from carriers or through Covered California's Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP).

While groups with 51 to 100 employees will be considered small business customers, they'll still be required to offer minimum essential coverage as defined by the employer shared responsibility provision, which applies to those groups with 50 or more full-time equivalents.