Heads up: This article provides general information but it’s not legal advice. Please consult an HR or health insurance expert for specific guidance on your business and situation.
Yes, part-time employees are eligible for health insurance, if their employer chooses to offer it to them. However, federal law does not require employers to offer health insurance to part-time employees.
What’s a part-time employee? According to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), part-time employees are those who work less than 30 hours per week.
So to sum it up, offering health insurance to part-time employees is totally up to you as the employer. Just note that if you do choose to offer health insurance to part-time employees, you have to follow the rules set by the ACA. (More on that below).
OK, I have decided to offer health insurance to part-time employees. What are my requirements?
If you offer health insurance to part-time employees, you have to follow the requirements set by the ACA. Here are four steps to ensure you’re able to offer it to part-timers, and that you’re compliant.
- Check with your insurance carrier: Make sure your insurance carrier allows you to offer health insurance to part-timers. Some carriers have rules that do or don’t allow it.
- Be consistent in how and who you offer coverage to: According to the ACA, if you offer health insurance to full-time employees, then you have to offer health insurance to all similarly situated full-time employees. Similarly, if you offer health insurance to part-time employees, you have to offer health insurance to all similarly situated part-time employees. You should clearly write what makes a part-time employee eligible in your company policies, which brings us to the next step:
- Set your own requirements for part-time eligibility: If you decide to open up health benefits to part-time employees, you can write your own requirements for how those part-time employees can qualify for it. For example, you could set a policy that enables employees to qualify for health insurance if they:
- Work at least 10 hours a week
- Work at least 40 hours per month
- Work for you at all, meaning anyone who is employed by you can get health insurance.
- Make sure you meet your participation requirements. Most health insurance carriers and states require that a minimum percentage of your workforce that is eligible on health insurance actually takes you up on on it and uses it. Offering health insurance to part-time employees can affect that percentage. More on what participation requirements are here.
These things can get complicated; It’s best to work with a broker who can keep your business compliant and select a health insurance plan that’s right for your company and team.Updated January 31, 2018