Healthcare Glossary


Shared responsibility requirement

Businesses with 50 or more employees are required to offer their employees health insurance or pay a penalty.

Short-term limited duration plans

Also known as “junk insurance,” short-term plans are meant to fill a gap in an individual’s coverage due to an unexpected occurrence such as a gap in employment. Short-term plans typically have high deductibles, exclude coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and are not required to cover essential benefits like prescriptions or preventive services such as cancer screenings. Recent federal rule changes have extended the amount of time these plans can be offered, making them "appear" to be an annual medical plan.

Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP)

SHOP was a marketplace created under the ACA to serve as a place for small businesses with fewer than 50 to browse for health coverage and find a broker or agent to purchase insurance.

Small business tax credit

The ACA established a tax credit for small businesses to help offset the cost of offering health insurance. To qualify for a tax credit, small business owners must pay at least half of employees’ healthcare premiums and have 25 or fewer full-time equivalent employees who earn an average of $50,000 or less per year.

Small group market

Generally refers to the insurance marketplace for employers with fewer than 50 employees seeking group coverage. While employers with fewer than 50 full-time employees are not required to provide group insurance, group plans are offered in most states to businesses of this size. These employers can use the SHOP website to find a broker or agent in their area to help navigate their insurance options.

Special enrollment periods (SEP)

A special enrollment period (SEP) allows you to potentially enroll in coverage outside of the open enrollment window if you miss the general open enrollment period due to losing health coverage, moving, getting married, having a baby, adopting a child, etc. Visit to learn more about SEPs and check if you qualify.

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