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
This article provides general information and shouldn’t be construed as legal, benefits, or HR advice. Benefits and insurance regulations may change over time and may vary by location and employer size. So, please consult a licensed broker or appropriately certified expert for advice specific to your business’s benefits options.