Q: What’s the difference between a “large employer” and “small employer”?

According to the ACA, large employers are required to offer health insurance to their full-time employees, whereas small employers are not required to. Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Large employers are defined as having 50 or more full-time equivalent employees.
  • Small employers have fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees.

Note, a full-time equivalent employee count is different than just counting all your full-time employees—check out this article to learn how to calculate your count.

Below is a table to help clarify some of the differences between “large” and “small” employers, except for those in the previously mentioned four states:

Large employerSmall employer
Definition50 or more full-time equivalent employeesFewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees
Requirements for health insuranceRequired to offer health insurance to all employees who work 30 or more hours per workNot required to offer health insurance to any employees

Heads up: These laws and definitions are subject to change. 

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