Health insurance for small business with one employee

Providing health insurance can be a powerful perk for attracting and retaining talent, even in the smallest of businesses. But when your team consists of just you and one other person, navigating the insurance landscape can feel overwhelming.

Fear not, solopreneur! This guide dives into the unique healthcare options available for your one-employee business, helping you ensure both you and your team member are covered.

Navigating the Group vs. Individual Dilemma:

Health insurance for small business with one employee

Traditionally, businesses offer “group” health insurance plans. However, with only one employee, the “group” definition becomes murky. Luckily, you have options:

  • Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP): Available in most states, SHOP offers group plans specifically designed for businesses with 1-50 employees. While technically open to all businesses, qualifying for tax credits often requires at least two enrolled employees (yourself and your team member). Explore your state’s SHOP marketplace to see available plans and potential tax breaks.

  • Joint Group Plans: In some states, small businesses can join “association health plans” through industry or professional associations. These plans offer group rates and benefits, but availability and regulations vary by state.

  • Individual Coverage with HRAs: Consider Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs). These employer-funded accounts reimburse employees for individual health insurance premiums and qualified medical expenses. You choose the contribution amount and plan parameters, offering your team member flexibility while potentially saving on administrative costs.

Individual Coverage Considerations:

If SHOP or group options aren’t feasible, your employee can explore the individual market:

  • Affordable Care Act (ACA) Marketplaces: These marketplaces offer subsidized individual plans based on income. Encourage your employee to browse available plans and apply for potential subsidies.

  • Direct Purchase: Your employee can purchase an individual plan directly from an insurance company. While potentially more expensive than ACA plans, they may offer greater choice and flexibility.

Beyond Traditional Insurance:

Don’t neglect alternative options:

  • High-Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs) with Health Savings Accounts (HSAs): These plans pair lower monthly premiums with higher deductibles. HSAs allow tax-advantaged contributions for qualified medical expenses, offering long-term savings potential.

  • Short-Term Medical Plans: These temporary plans offer basic coverage for limited periods (generally less than 12 months). While not ideal for long-term needs, they can provide stop-gap coverage while your employee seeks a permanent plan.


  • Compare Options: Carefully evaluate plans based on cost, coverage, network access, and deductibles. Consider your employee’s specific needs and budget.

  • Compliance Check: Familiarize yourself with state and federal regulations regarding employer-sponsored health plans and HRAs. Seek professional guidance if needed.

  • Communication is Key: Discuss your chosen plan with your employee, ensuring they understand their coverage and benefits.

Final Thoughts:

Offering health insurance, even with just one employee, demonstrates your commitment to their well-being and can be a valuable recruiting and retention tool. By exploring your options and choosing the right plan, you can provide valuable coverage for your team while remaining mindful of your budget. Remember, your unique business deserves a unique healthcare solution.

Call to Action:

This guide is just a starting point. Further research and professional advice are vital when navigating health insurance for small businesses.

Consult with insurance brokers, financial advisors, or HR professionals to tailor a plan that fits your specific needs. Remember, ensuring your team’s health and well-being is an investment in both their happiness and your business’s success.

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