Small Business

How It Works

Shopping options that give you choice and control of cost

As a small business, the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) enables you and your employees to confidently compare a variety of qualified health insurance plans for small businesses in Maryland and find the right health plan to suit your needs and budget. You can’t be denied coverage based on current health status or pre-existing conditions, and as an employer you can’t be charged higher premiums for female employees or have an increase in your group’s premium if you have employees with high medical costs.

The SHOP is a uniquely easy, hassle-free way for your small business to find health insurance. Access SHOP health plans for Maryland small businesses through Direct Enrollment with authorized insurance brokers.

Which plan levels of coverage are right for your small business?

The health insurance plans for small businesses in Maryland offered through Maryland Health Connection are grouped as bronze, silver, gold, or platinum. Each level tells you how much of your employee’s medical expense (in percentage) a plan will cover. Groupings help you compare plans within each level, based on similar covered benefits and costs.

This chart gives you a good idea about metal levels and how much your employee’s plan will pay:

Plan Level
Insurance Company Pays
(on average)
Your Employee's Pay
(on average)
bronze metal level

60% of health care costs

40% of health care costs

silver metal level

70% of health care costs

30% of health care costs

gold metal level

80% of health care costs

20% of health care costs

platinum metal level

90% of health care costs

10% of health care costs