5 Most Affordable Health Insurance For Small Business

5 Most Affordable Health Insurance For Small Business

5 Most Affordable Health Insurance For Small Business

A small business is typically characterized as an employer with one to 50 employees, excluding the owner, their spouse, and any family members, concerning health insurance coverage. However, in certain jurisdictions and within private firms, organizations with one to 100 employees may be considered small businesses.

The Small Business Health Insurance Options Program (SHOP) assists in identifying Affordable Care Act (ACA)-compliant group plans that can be offered to employees by obtaining coverage through an agent or broker. If you meet the eligibility criteria, a SHOP plan is the sole means to qualify for the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit.


If a plan cannot be found on the SHOP marketplace, alternatives can be explored on insurance companies’ websites. It’s important to note that if you provide SHOP coverage, it must be accessible to all full-time employees, and an office or worksite in the state where coverage is sought must be maintained. However, not all providers offer SHOP plans, and their availability may vary.

Whether opting for a SHOP plan or another form of group health insurance, it’s crucial to collaborate with a reputable company that prioritizes the healthcare needs of your employees. We conducted an analysis of organizations based on their offerings and third-party ratings to aid in finding the most cost-effective health insurance for small businesses.


Affordable Health Insurance For Small Business


UnitedHealthcare is the overall most affordable health insurance for small businesses, according to our research.

United Healthcare

With approximately 70 million customers, United Healthcare stands as the largest insurance carrier in the United States in terms of membership. The company collaborates with nearly 1.3 million physicians and healthcare professionals, along with 6,500 hospitals and care facilities. Offering a robust network and coverage in all fifty states, United Healthcare earns recognition for its diverse range of services and programs, catering even to part-time and seasonal workers. Small business plans offered by United Healthcare include HMO, PPO, EPO, and POS options. Additionally, the company provides savings for customers bundling health insurance with dental and vision coverage, along with complimentary exercise, nutrition, and self-care guidance. Notably, United Healthcare integrates advanced technology into its services, offering convenient in-app features like claim filing and mental health services. Despite its strengths, United Healthcare lacks a platinum plan, and it faced criticism and fines for claims processing issues in the past. Prospective clients are advised to review customer feedback before making a decision.

Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS)

Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) earns recognition for its extensive network coverage and outstanding consumer service ratings. Over 95% of physicians and 96% of hospitals accept BCBS, covering over 106 million Americans. The company also received high marks in J.D. Power’s 2022 U.S. Commercial Member Health Plan Study. BCBS offers a variety of health insurance alternatives, including PPOs, HMOs, and high-deductible plans. Comprising 34 independent, community-based businesses, BCBS operates under one umbrella, resulting in policy and coverage variations between firms. While BCBS is known for quality service, it tends to be more expensive than competitors, with some plans featuring higher deductibles. Despite these considerations, BCBS remains a reliable option for small business owners seeking comprehensive coverage and diverse plan options.

Elevance (formerly Anthem, Inc.)

Elevance, formerly known as Anthem, Inc., is recognized for its reasonably priced plans and extensive network of healthcare providers, ensuring employees have ample provider options. Despite reports of lower coverage costs, Elevance has faced criticism for poor customer support and high denial rates. Notably, Elevance Blue Cross, a local subsidiary, was fined for mismanagement of customer complaints. Despite these issues, Elevance remains available in select states, offering accessible healthcare options at competitive prices.


Aetna stands out for its focus on preventative care alternatives, emphasizing value-based care (VBC) to promote healthy lifestyle choices among plan participants. While operating in only 16 states, Aetna boasts significant institutional experience, spanning 169 years. The company is recognized for competitive pricing and incorporates VBC elements into all plans. However, Aetna has faced complaints and fines for claim denials and dismissal of emergency care claims, underscoring the importance of thorough research before choosing the company for healthcare needs.

Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente emerges as the most affordable health insurance option for small businesses, offering a unique closed-group system that includes private hospitals accessible only to members. With 12.6 million members across eight states and the District of Columbia, Kaiser Permanente prioritizes high-quality care at reduced costs. The company encourages preventative care and offers a variety of plan options, including copayment HMOs and HRA and HSA-qualified plans. While Kaiser Permanente receives high ratings for quality service, its limited geographic reach and network may not suit businesses operating nationwide. Prospective clients are advised to assess coverage options and customer service ratings before making a decision.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How can I obtain affordable health insurance for my small business?

  • Options include working directly with a private insurer or exploring plans available through the Small Business Health Insurance Options Program (SHOP). Enrolling in SHOP coverage may qualify you for the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit. Consider eligibility requirements and coverage offerings before selecting a plan.
Is health insurance mandatory for small businesses?
  • While no employer is obligated to provide health insurance, businesses with at least 50 employees may face penalties for not offering coverage. Employers opting to provide insurance must offer it to all eligible full-time employees within a specified waiting period.
What is the cost of small business health insurance?
  • Costs vary based on factors such as business location and selected network type. On average, firms with fewer than 200 employees paid approximately $6,569 per employee for single coverage and $14,094 for family coverage in 2021. Experts recommend keeping group health insurance expenditures between 10% and 20% of annual revenue.

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