When you’re searching for a group health insurance solution that offers flexibility, savings and ease of use — Covered California for Small Business can help. 

Providing high-quality health and dental coverage for your employees is easier and less expensive than you might think. And by offering the health benefits that potential candidates are looking for, you can stand out from your competition and better attract top talent. Plus, by providing coverage through Covered California for Small Business (CCSB), your business may qualify for tax credits to help pay for it. 

Covered California is a free service from the state that connects residents, including self-employed workers, with brand-name plans at a lower cost. As part of this service, CCSB offers small businesses the opportunity to choose coverage and costs that work within their budget, while giving employees the benefits they need.  

Through CCSB, you’ll have options. California small business owners with one to 100 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees can choose from four tiers of coverage, pick from three different brand-name health insurance companies and offer employees a wide range of quality plans. What’s more, your small business could qualify for federal tax credits to help offset costs. Plus, billing is simple. Employers receive one consolidated invoice monthly, no matter how many plans or companies your employees sign up for. 

How to Get Affordable Group Health Insurance   

If you have 100 or fewer FTE employees, your small business is eligible for CCSB. At least one of those employees must receive a W-2, and the majority of employees must live in California. For a small business to participate in CCSB, the employer also needs to contribute at least 50 percent to the premium of the lowest-cost reference level tier for their employees.

Don’t have any employees receiving W-2s? Sole proprietors and self-employed workers still may be able to get covered — and receive financial help —  through Covered California. You can get a quick quote here. 

Get Tax Breaks Thanks to Federal Tax Credits 

CCSB can help you access financial help to pay for your employees’ benefits through federal tax credits. Whether you’re eligible for these credits, and how much money your business will get back, depends on the following factors: 

  • Coverage. You must cover at least half the cost of your employees’ health insurance. Upping your contribution may also increase the amount you receive in financial help. 
  • Size. You have fewer than 25 FTE employees. Smaller businesses are entitled to larger credits.  
  • Wages. Your employees’ average annual wages are less than $58,000 per year. Businesses with lower annual wages typically receive more. 
  • Designation. Both for-profit and nonprofit businesses can qualify for tax credits. The maximum tax credit for for-profits is 50 percent of monthly premiums. Tax-exempt nonprofits can get reimbursed up to 35 percent. 

The ultimate cost of health insurance for your small business will depend on a variety of factors. Quickly find out what this might look like for your business by using the CCSB quote template.

For Many Businesses, It’s the Law

If you have 50 or more FTE employees, offering health insurance is mandatory under the Affordable Care Act. If an employer of this size does not offer coverage, they may be required to pay a fee

How CCSB Health Plans Work

With CCSB, you and your employees have options. Business owners can define their contribution to health care benefits — and employees ultimately get to pick their own plan. Choices include metal tier, health insurance company and whether dental will be included. All health plans cover essential health benefits like prescription drugs, emergency services and more.

  • Insurance companies. Employees can choose from quality plans offered by Blue Shield of California, Kaiser Permanente and Sharp Health Plan. Different companies offer a selection of PPO and HMO plans
  • Metal tiers. All plans offered through CCSB are broken out into four coverage levels or metal tiers: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Business owners get to choose two adjoining levels to offer employees. For example, you can choose Bronze and Silver or Silver and Gold. In the latter example, Silver would be your reference plan, and your employees may move up to Gold if they wish. Review CCSB’s standard plan summaries for Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum levels to get an idea of what coverage is available at each tier. 
  • Dental. Your employees will also have the opportunity to pick from one of four dental insurance plans for themselves and their dependents.

How to Manage Your Plans 

CCSB has a single tool to help you apply for and manage your company’s health and dental plans. MyCCSB is a one-stop spot for enrolling online, comparing and managing plans, making changes, renewing and more. Plus, you can enjoy streamlined billing. Regardless of how many carriers or plans your employees pick — it’s all bundled into a single monthly bill for you.  

How to Apply for CCSB

When it comes to finding the best health insurance coverage for your small business, you don’t have to go it alone. Your small business can apply year-round, without the enrollment period restrictions individual applicants might experience.

You can submit your application to CCSB at any time. New submissions are accepted each month. The official monthly cutoff is the first of the month for same-month coverage, but CCSB will accept new submissions through the first five days of the month with a New Business Late Submission Acknowledgment Form.

Contact a CCSB agent free of charge today. They will provide any help you need in getting a quote. You’ll receive that initial quote back within about two business days, putting you well on your way toward providing this important benefit to your employees.