Best Small Business Health Insurance Providers of 2024 in the USA

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) defines a small business as a group of no more than 50 full-time employees (FTE), though some states may define it differently.

A small business owner enrolls in a group health insurance plan offered by a private insurance company and then provides their employees the opportunity to enroll in that plan. The employer pays part of their employees’ monthly premiums, while employees typically pay smaller premiums, as well as their deductibles, copays, coinsurance and services not covered by the plan.

Small business owners contract with health insurance companies and decide how many options to provide to employees.

Small Business Health Insurance Options

Small business owners can buy health insurance for their employees through approved insurance companies with the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP).

Getting insurance through the SHOP Marketplace allows employers to offer health plans from multiple insurance companies and qualifies them for the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit, which can help with the cost of providing coverage.

Your business must meet these requirements to qualify for the SHOP tax credit:

  • Fewer than 25 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees
  • Average employee salary is about $56,000 per year or less
  • Pay at least 50% of your full-time employees’ premium costs
  • Offer SHOP coverage to all full-time employees

Small business owners can also work with a health insurance broker who conducts all plan research and comparisons to find the best plan for your business at no additional charge. Or they can buy directly from a health insurance company.

If you buy coverage through the ACA marketplace, plans are organized by “metal” tiers: bronze, silver, gold and platinum. The tiers differ by premiums and out-of-pocket costs. For instance, bronze and silver plans have low premiums but higher deductibles and coinsurance. Gold and platinum plans have high premiums but lower out-of-pocket costs.

Employers have flexibility in which type of plans they choose to offer their employees.

In 2024, finding the best health insurance provider for small businesses is crucial for employers aiming to attract and retain top talent while ensuring the well-being of their workforce. Small businesses face unique challenges when it comes to offering comprehensive health benefits, such as managing costs and navigating complex regulations. This article highlights the top small business health insurance providers in the USA for 2024, offering insights into their plans, benefits, and what makes them stand out.

1. Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS)

Blue Cross Blue Shield is a well-established health insurance provider with a broad network and a strong reputation for quality service. They offer a variety of plans tailored to small businesses, ensuring flexibility and comprehensive coverage.

Key Benefits:

  • Extensive Network: BCBS has one of the largest provider networks in the country, giving employees access to a wide range of doctors and hospitals.
  • Customizable Plans: BCBS offers a range of plans from basic to premium, allowing businesses to choose coverage that fits their budget and employee needs.
  • Wellness Programs: They provide wellness programs aimed at promoting healthy lifestyles, which can help reduce overall healthcare costs.

Why Choose BCBS:
Blue Cross Blue Shield’s extensive network and customizable plans make it an excellent choice for small businesses looking for reliable and comprehensive health insurance options.

2. UnitedHealthcare

UnitedHealthcare is a leading health insurance provider known for its comprehensive plans and robust technology integration. They offer innovative solutions to help small businesses manage their health insurance needs effectively.

Key Benefits:

  • Wide Range of Plans: UnitedHealthcare provides a variety of plans, including Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), and high-deductible health plans (HDHP) compatible with Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).
  • Digital Tools: Their user-friendly digital tools make it easy for employees to manage their healthcare, find providers, and access wellness resources.
  • Employer Resources: UnitedHealthcare offers numerous resources for employers, including administrative support and health and wellness programs.

Why Choose UnitedHealthcare:
With a broad range of plans and advanced digital tools, UnitedHealthcare is ideal for small businesses seeking flexible and tech-savvy health insurance solutions.

3. Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is known for its integrated care model, combining health insurance with healthcare services. This approach ensures coordinated care and high-quality service for members.

Key Benefits:

  • Integrated Care: Kaiser Permanente’s unique model integrates insurance with healthcare services, providing seamless care coordination.
  • Preventive Care Focus: They emphasize preventive care, which can lead to better health outcomes and lower long-term costs.
  • Comprehensive Coverage: Kaiser offers a wide range of coverage options, including mental health services, dental, and vision care.

Why Choose Kaiser Permanente:
Small businesses looking for a holistic and coordinated healthcare experience for their employees will find Kaiser Permanente’s integrated model particularly beneficial.

4. Aetna

Aetna, a subsidiary of CVS Health, offers a variety of health insurance plans tailored to the needs of small businesses. Their focus on value-based care and extensive network makes them a competitive choice.

Key Benefits:

  • Value-Based Care: Aetna’s value-based care model emphasizes quality over quantity, aiming to improve patient outcomes while controlling costs.
  • Strong Network: Aetna has a vast network of healthcare providers, ensuring employees have access to a wide range of services.
  • Innovative Solutions: Aetna offers innovative tools and resources, including telehealth services and wellness programs.

Why Choose Aetna:
Aetna’s commitment to value-based care and its extensive provider network make it an attractive option for small businesses focused on quality care and cost management.

5. Cigna

Cigna is a global health service company that offers a range of insurance products, including health plans specifically designed for small businesses. Their focus on personalized care and global reach sets them apart.

Key Benefits:

  • Personalized Care: Cigna emphasizes personalized care, with programs tailored to meet the unique needs of each employee.
  • Global Coverage: For businesses with international operations or employees who travel frequently, Cigna’s global coverage is a significant advantage.
  • Health and Wellness Programs: Cigna offers comprehensive health and wellness programs to support employee well-being and productivity.

Why Choose Cigna:
Cigna’s personalized approach and global capabilities make it an excellent choice for small businesses seeking tailored health insurance solutions.

6. Humana

Humana provides a wide array of health insurance plans aimed at small businesses. They are known for their focus on wellness and preventive care, making them a strong contender in the small business insurance market.

Key Benefits:

  • Preventive Care: Humana places a strong emphasis on preventive care and offers numerous programs to encourage healthy living.
  • Flexible Plans: They offer a variety of flexible plans, including HMOs, PPOs, and HSAs, allowing businesses to choose the best fit for their employees.
  • Cost-Effective Solutions: Humana provides cost-effective insurance solutions without compromising on quality of care.

Why Choose Humana:
Small businesses looking for a provider that emphasizes wellness and offers flexible, cost-effective plans will find Humana a great option.

7. Oscar Health

Oscar Health is a newer entrant in the health insurance market but has quickly made a name for itself with its tech-driven approach and focus on user experience.

Key Benefits:

  • Technology Integration: Oscar uses technology to simplify the insurance process, offering a mobile app that helps employees manage their health care easily.
  • Clear Pricing: Oscar is known for its transparency in pricing, making it easier for businesses to understand and manage healthcare costs.
  • Member Support: They offer robust member support, including telemedicine services and dedicated care teams.

Why Choose Oscar Health:
Oscar Health’s tech-driven approach and commitment to transparency make it a compelling choice for small businesses looking for innovative health insurance solutions.

8. Anthem

Anthem is one of the largest health insurers in the United States, offering a wide range of plans and services tailored to small businesses. Their extensive network and comprehensive plans provide significant value.

Key Benefits:

  • Broad Network: Anthem’s extensive provider network ensures employees have access to a vast array of healthcare services.
  • Variety of Plans: They offer a diverse selection of plans, including HMOs, PPOs, and HDHPs, catering to different needs and budgets.
  • Employee Resources: Anthem provides numerous resources to help employees manage their health, including wellness programs and health management tools.

Why Choose Anthem:
With a vast network and a variety of plan options, Anthem is an excellent choice for small businesses seeking comprehensive and flexible health insurance coverage.


Choosing the right health insurance provider for your small business is a critical decision that impacts your employees’ well-being and your company’s financial health. The providers listed above offer a range of plans and benefits designed to meet the unique needs of small businesses. Whether you prioritize extensive networks, integrated care models, or innovative technology solutions, there is a health insurance provider on this list that can meet your requirements. Carefully evaluate your business’s specific needs and consider consulting with a health insurance broker to find the best plan for your team in 2024.

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