Employers with fewer than 50 workers will have the option of joining the "Small Business Options Program," or SHOP, starting in 2014. Michael Lujan is helping to create the program - he says it will help small employers offer what big companies can.
He says small businesses will have a choice next year: They're not required to offer health benefits, but if they do through SHOP, there will be less paperwork and more health benefit choices.
"Employers in order to prepare for this, I think need to do a bit of a check to see what's important to them," Lujan said. "What do they want to offer? What are they missing in the marketplace today? And they may find that the technology, tools, the employee choice and maybe even the tax credits might be very compelling for the SHOP."
Lujan estimates as many as 90,000 Californians who work for small businesses may be part of the SHOP next year. He says some employers will be eligible for a tax credit of up to 50% for the employee health premiums they pay.
Visit the Covered California website.