Q: Are Part-Time Employees Eligible for Health Insurance?

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.  

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Let’s back it up for a second: just how many hours a week is part-time? When it comes to health care, you have to follow the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) definition where part-time employees are those who work less than 30 hours per week.

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 them, you have to follow the rules set by the ACA.

What are the rules on offering health insurance to part-time employees?

Here are four steps to ensure you’re able to offer health insurance to part-time employees and are compliant with the ACA’s requirements.

1. Check with your insurance carrier

Make sure your insurance carrier allows you to offer health insurance to part-timers. Insurance companies have different rules around this.

2. Be consistent in how and whom 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.

In the same way, 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.

3. 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-timers 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, or
  • Work for you at all, meaning anyone who is employed by you can get health insurance.

4. Make sure you meet your minimum 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 minimum participation percentage.

These things can get complicated, so 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.

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