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small business health insurance Arizona

small business health insurance ArizonaAs a small business owner in Arizona, offering your employees health insurance is a valuable benefit and a legal requirement in certain situations. Understanding the options and benefits of small business health insurance in Arizona is crucial for making informed decisions that align with your budget and the needs of your employees.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the essentials of small business health insurance in Arizona, including how to choose the right plan, the number of employees required for coverage, legal obligations for employers, and the advantages of partnering with a reputable insurance agency like Blake Insurance Group.

Types of Health Insurance Plans

Comprehensive Major Medical Coverage

Comprehensive Major Medical Coverage, or major medical health insurance, provides broad coverage of a wide range of healthcare services such as physician visits, hospitalization, and emergency room visits. This type of plan offers the most flexibility at the lowest premium cost. As a member, you are free to use any provider you choose, including specialists, though you will pay less out of pocket if you use a participating provider.

Specific or Limited Benefit Plans

Specific or limited benefit plans are medical plans with much lower and more restricted benefits than major medical insurance but with lower premiums. These include critical illness plans, indemnity plans (policies that only pay a pre-determined amount, regardless of total charges), and “hospital cash” policies. While the Affordable Care Act does not regulate these plans and is unsuitable for a person’s only medical coverage, they can be an excellent supplement to a high-deductible major medical plan.

Additional Benefits

In addition to the primary health insurance plans, small businesses can offer additional benefits like dental, life, and vision insurance. These additional benefits can enhance the overall health coverage for your employees, making your business more attractive to potential and current employees.

Choosing the Right Plan

When choosing a health insurance plan for your small business, it’s important to consider the needs of your business and employees. Factors such as the cost to you and your employees and the health services covered should be carefully considered.

For instance, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona offers a variety of plans designed with small businesses in mind, including HMO & PPO options, fully insured plans, and balanced funding plans. These plans are available for businesses with two or more employees and offer predictable monthly payments, employee freedom of choice, and stop-loss limits for ultimate protection.

Eligibility and Qualifications for Coverage

To be eligible for Arizona’s small business health insurance plans, a business must generally have between 1 and 50 employees. For instance, the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) is available to employers with 1-50 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees in most states, including Arizona. In some states, employers with 1-100 employees qualify.

For small employer group health insurance plans offered through the SHOP program in Arizona, at least 70% of full-time employees must enroll in the plan. Additionally, to qualify for the Health Insurance Premium Tax Credit in Arizona, a small business must have been in existence for at least one year, not have provided health insurance to their employees for at least six consecutive months before applying, and had at least two but no more than 25 employees during the most recent calendar year.

When considering coverage options, small businesses can explore plans from private insurance companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, which offers HMO & PPO options, fully insured plans, and balanced funding plans for businesses with two or more employees. Alternatively, small businesses can consider coverage options through the SHOP program or other private insurance companies.

Guidance for Small Business Owners

Navigating the complexities of small business health insurance can be challenging, but it’s crucial for attracting and retaining top talent. Here are some key points to consider:

Understanding Coverage

Small businesses have two primary categories of health insurance: individual and group health insurance. Individuals purchase individual health insurance plans to cover themselves or their families. Group health insurance plans are a form of employer-sponsored health coverage, with costs typically shared between the employer and the employee.

There are four main types of health insurance that small businesses can choose from: Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans, Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans, Health Savings Account (HSA)–qualified plans, and indemnity plans. Each type of plan offers different levels of flexibility and cost-sharing between the employer and employee.

Number of Employees

To be eligible for small business health insurance, a company must generally have between 1 and 50 employees. However, if you’re a sole proprietor or self-employed with no employees, you may be able to get individual coverage.

Employee Premiums

As a small business owner, you must typically pay at least 50% of your employees’ monthly health insurance premiums. The minimum percentage can vary by state or insurance company. You may also opt to contribute toward premiums for dependents.

Shopping for Coverage

Small businesses with 1 to 50 employees can get health coverage for workers in the SHOP Marketplace at If you do not qualify or have no SHOP plans in your area, you can also find a small business health insurance plan through a licensed broker or an insurer like Anthem.

Remember, small business health insurance has no limited enrollment period, and employers can shop for a new plan any time of year. You can also work with a SHOP-registered agent or broker to help you enroll in coverage.

Tax Credits

Under the Affordable Care Act, employers with fewer than 25 full-time employees who pay average wages of $56,000 or less or cover at least half of their employees’ premiums may be eligible for tax credits for their small group health insurance plans. These tax credits can help lower the cost of your small business health insurance.

Navigating the complexities of small business health insurance can be challenging. Still, with the correct information and guidance, you can make informed decisions that benefit your business and your employees.

Benefits of Small Group Health Insurance Plans

Small-group health insurance plans offer several advantages for both employers and employees. Here are some key benefits:

**Lower costs**: Small group health insurance plans typically have lower per-person costs than unsubsidized individual health insurance plans. This is because the risk is spread across a pool of insured individuals, keeping premiums low.

**Tax incentives**: Employers can enjoy favorable tax benefits for offering group health insurance to their employees. Premiums employees pay can be done pre-tax, reducing their overall taxable income.

**Attract and retain top talent**: Health insurance can help small businesses attract and retain top talent by providing a competitive benefits package. This can help small organizations and startups compete with larger companies.

**Positive work culture**: Providing small business health insurance can show employees that their health is essential to the employer, promoting a positive and healthy company culture.

**Comprehensive coverage**: Employees of small businesses can benefit from comprehensive coverage for themselves and their family members at a lower price than individual plans.

 **Flexibility**: Large employers have greater flexibility in selecting and designing health plans for their employees. Association health plans can expand extensive group coverage to smaller companies and the self-employed, providing more options for coverage.

 **No impact on premiums due to employee health**: Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), employees’ overall health no longer impacts group health insurance rates, ensuring that monthly premiums won’t be affected by high-risk employees or pre-existing conditions.

By offering small-group health insurance plans, employers can provide valuable benefits to their employees while enjoying cost savings and tax incentives. This can lead to a more competitive and successful business overall.

Health insurance for self-employed Arizona

If you’re self-employed in Arizona, you have several options for health insurance.

Health Insurance Marketplace

You can use the Health Insurance Marketplace to find health coverage as a self-employed individual. The Marketplace offers flexible, high-quality health coverage that works well for people who run their businesses. You’re considered self-employed if you have a business that takes in income but has no employees. You can enroll through the Marketplace if you’re a freelancer, consultant, independent contractor, or other self-employed worker who doesn’t have any employees.

When you fill out a Marketplace application, you’ll find out if you qualify for premium tax credits and other savings on a health plan. The Marketplace offers several categories of coverage, from plans with low premiums that mainly protect you in worst-case scenarios to plans where you’ll pay more each month but less out-of-pocket when you get health care services.


If you’re self-employed or starting a solo business with little income, you may qualify for low-cost insurance or free or low-cost coverage through Medicaid. When your income increases, you can adjust or change your coverage to ensure you get only the savings you qualify for.

Private Insurance Companies

If you’re self-employed in Arizona and looking for health insurance, consider private insurance companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona and UnitedHealthcare. These companies offer short-term or temporary health insurance plans tailored to your needs.

Short-term health insurance plans are designed to provide coverage for a limited period, typically from one month to 364 days, and can help bridge gaps in coverage. These plans can be a good option if you’re between jobs, waiting for other coverage to begin, or need temporary coverage for any other reason.

Remember that short-term health insurance plans may not provide the same level of coverage as traditional ones and may not cover pre-existing conditions or certain essential health benefits. It’s essential to carefully review the plan details and consider your healthcare needs before choosing a short-term health insurance plan.

Health Savings Account (HSA)

Another option for self-employed individuals in Arizona is a Health Savings Account (HSA). This insurance plan allows low-cost, comprehensive, and catastrophic coverage with an added tax advantage.

Tax Deductibility

You can typically deduct 100% of your premium as a self-employed individual. This can help offset the cost of health insurance.

Remember, the cost of health insurance can vary based on several factors, including your age, health, and the level of coverage chosen. It’s essential to compare different plans and consider your healthcare needs before deciding. Consider working with a broker or agent if you need help choosing a plan. They can help you understand your options and make the process easier.

Why Choose Blake Insurance Group for Your Small Business Health Insurance?

When selecting an insurance agency for your small business health insurance in Arizona, Blake Insurance Group stands out as a trusted partner. Here’s why you should consider partnering with them:

Expertise and Experience: Blake Insurance Group has a team of knowledgeable insurance agents with years of experience in the industry. They understand the unique needs of small businesses in Arizona and can provide tailored solutions to meet your specific requirements. Their expertise ensures that you receive accurate information and guidance throughout the process.

Comprehensive Coverage Options: Blake Insurance Group offers a wide range of small business health insurance plans, including group plans, individual plans, and self-employed plans. They work with multiple insurance providers, ensuring you have access to the best options available in the market. Their extensive network of carriers allows them to find the most suitable coverage for your business and employees.

Personalized Service: The team at Blake Insurance Group takes a client-centric approach, providing personalized service to ensure your business’s unique needs are met. They will take the time to understand your requirements and provide customized recommendations that align with your budget and employee demographics. Their responsive and attentive approach sets them apart in the industry.

Cost-Effective Solutions: Blake Insurance Group understands the importance of budget considerations for small businesses. They will work with you to find cost-effective solutions that balance your financial resources with the coverage needs of your employees. Their relationships with insurance providers enable them to negotiate competitive rates and offer affordable options for small businesses.

Small Business Health Insurance Companies

When exploring small business health insurance options in Arizona, it’s important to consider reputable insurance providers that offer comprehensive coverage. Here are some notable companies:

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (AZBlue):

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (AZBlue) is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, committed to improving healthcare delivery and removing barriers to access for Arizonans. With extensive local knowledge and a nationwide presence, they offer a range of data-driven national network solutions tailored to businesses’ unique needs and objectives.

AZBlue provides health insurance and related services to more than 2 million customers, including individual, family, group, Medicare, and Medicaid health insurance plans. They focus on connecting people with the care they need and work closely with local physicians and hospitals to better understand the needs of the local population.

Blue Cross Blue Shield companies, including AZBlue, have a broad range of delivery system reform initiatives nationwide, such as Patient-Centered Medical Homes (PCMHs) [3]. These initiatives aim to support doctors in transforming their practices while paying them based on how well they care for the health of an entire population.

Data plays a crucial role in transforming care delivery and network performance. BCBS companies share data with providers to support more objective member referrals, improve care coordination across settings, understand gaps in care, identify at-risk patients, focus care management, and target health interventions. Data-driven network designs can guide employees to higher-performing providers while providing optimal accessibility to care that meets their needs.

AZBlue is also involved in various community programs and initiatives. For example, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona Foundation for Community & Health Advancement focuses on addressing social drivers of health, misuse and overdose, diabetes, and mental health issues.


Humana health insurance ArizonaHumana is a health insurance provider that offers options for small businesses, ensuring employees have access to health benefits. Small business owners can purchase a group plan that meets coverage standards or explore non-ACA plans with limited coverage, depending on their specific requirements. Humana’s focus on affordability and transparency helps small businesses provide quality coverage at competitive rates.

Humana offers a variety of group health insurance plans to meet the unique needs of small businesses (companies with 2 to 50 employees). Some of the health insurance plans suitable for small businesses include:

Humana Simplicity: This plan allows members to decide on their co-pays and offers 100% payment coverage after deductibles. It includes in-network preventive care and wellness incentives.

Level Funded Premium: Designed for small businesses with ten or more employees, this plan offers tax savings, comprehensive coverage, and wellness programs.

Coinsurance Plans: These plans provide 100% coverage for preventive exams and discounts on out-of-pocket payments for other medical services from in-network providers.

Humana’s health insurance plans are highly rated for overall quality of coverage and have a below-average complaint index. The company provides coverage in 44 states, and while its prices tend to be on the higher end of the spectrum, it offers a variety of plan options to cater to different needs.

In addition to health insurance, Humana also offers resources for small business owners, such as budget planning and communication tools, to help them choose the right health benefits for their employees.


Cigna, a global health service company, collaborates with Express Scripts to deliver a sustainable model of healthcare that addresses the physical, emotional, financial, and social aspects of individuals’ well-being. Their personalized solutions prioritize whole-person health, providing value and choice to employers and employees. Cigna’s broad network and comprehensive coverage options make it a reliable choice for small businesses in Arizona.

Cigna offers a range of health plans and networks for businesses of various sizes, including small businesses. They focus on whole-person health, offering medical, pharmacy, and mental health coverage plans. Some of the health plans suitable for small businesses include:

Cigna Healthcare + Oscar: This innovative product offers affordable and straightforward small-group health insurance for businesses that qualify under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in specific geographical locations, including Arizona.

Cigna Level FundingSM: This self-funded solution is designed specifically for smaller employers, providing comprehensive support that includes medical, pharmacy, and behavioral coverage.

Cigna and Express Scripts have partnered with Amazon Alexa to launch two voice skills to make healthcare more engaging, personalized, and convenient for customers. These skills enable eligible customers to manage pharmacy prescriptions, engage in health improvement programs, and track wellness incentives using voice technology.

In addition to their health plans, Cigna is committed to innovation in healthcare. They collaborate with stakeholders such as startups, established companies, universities, research institutions, and health systems to drive impactful innovation. Their focus on data, analytics, and artificial intelligence helps improve care coordination and create more comprehensive and personalized care experiences.


UnitedHealthcare offers flexible health plans for small businesses, focusing on employee health, productivity, and satisfaction. Their portfolio includes various innovative health plans designed to control costs and meet the diverse needs of different organizations. UnitedHealthcare’s extensive network of providers ensures employees have access to quality healthcare services.

UnitedHealthcare provides a range of group health insurance options designed to help small businesses (with 2-50 employees) save money and support their employees’ health and well-being. They offer health plans that cater to the unique needs of small businesses, with options such as:

Traditional health plans offer comprehensive coverage, including preventive care, hospitalization, and prescription drug benefits.

Consumer-driven health plans combine a high-deductible health plan with a health savings account (HSA) or a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA) to help employees manage their healthcare expenses.

Network-based plans offer access to an extensive network of healthcare providers, including more than 1.3 million physicians and care professionals and 6,500 hospitals and care facilities nationwide.

UnitedHealthcare is also committed to innovation in healthcare, leveraging data, digital tools, and technology to improve patient experiences and health outcomes and reduce healthcare costs. They collaborate with stakeholders, including startups, established companies, universities, research institutions, and health systems, to drive impactful innovation.

FAQ - Arizona Health Insurance