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How To Obtain Health Insurance If You Are A Small Business Owner


As a small business owner with an existing health condition or a health history, you have a choice about purchasing health insurance.

Because of the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"), you can purchase individual health insurance for yourself despite your health condition. 

You can also purchase health insurance for you and for the other people in your business as a small group. It is worth checking what is available in your state to see if you can save money and/or get better coverage. As a general matter, you can be a group if there are at least two full-time employees working for the business - including yourself.

To learn what is available, consider: 

Individual health insurance: You can find out about individual policies available in your state by going to offsite link.  

Professional Associations: If you are a professional, check professional associations. Some professional associations offer health insurance to members and members' employees. Such associations tend to be in professions that require an advanced degree or form of licensing such as doctors, lawyers, dentists or architects.

Associations of small business owners: The following associations of small business owners offer health insurance. The associations are listed in alphabetical order. We do not have first hand experience with any of these associations and our listing of them should not be taken as a recommendation. 

For a list of associations by industry, see: offsite link

Insurance broker: Consider contacting an independent insurance broker who sells insurance for many companies and who specializes in small group health plans. Look for a person who has insured many small groups -- not just someone who says that they know a lot about small group insurance.

Following are some examples of how to meet minimum group requirements of two people or more:

  • You work for your business at least 30 hours a week and have one employee who works 20 hours per week. By increasing that employee's hours to 30 or more per week, you can purchase health insurance for yourself and your employee with no health questions asked. (However, if you haven't had prior coverage, you may be subject to a Pre-Existing Conditions Limitation.)
  • You don't employ anyone else, but you subcontract some of your work to another. If there is enough subcontracting work for a full-time person, consider hiring an employee full-time because it would allow you to purchase group health insurance.
  • Your spouse, although semi-retired, assists you with your home business. Paying him or her as a full-time employee would give you the second employee you need to purchase health insurance. However, because insurance companies are naturally suspicious when the only two employees are owner and spouse, make sure your spouse is on the payroll for a full-time wage, and that there is some way to prove that he or she works the required number of hours per week. All of your employment records will be carefully scrutinized to make sure the person is a legitimate employee.

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