I have a business in Maine with 18 employees; 10 are full-time and eight are part-time. As the business has grown, I have added more part-timers. I offer group health insurance for the full-timers, but nothing for the part-timers. Now that part-timers are nearly half of my group, I’m feeling like I want to do something to offer them health insurance. But I can barely afford the full-timers plan that we have now. Is there anything I can do?
Small But Growing
Dear Small But Growing,
Yes, there are a few options for you to explore.
The Dirigo Health Agency (DHA) offers a voucher program for part-time employees who work at least 10 hours but not more than 35 hours per week. You, as the employer, have to pay five percent of the part-timers’ health premiums. You take the other 95 percent of the cost from their paycheck. The employee gets reimbursed by DHA for some portion of their 95 percent share; how much they get reimbursed is scaled to their income. Employees can get this voucher if they have been without health insurance for at least 90 days.
For more information, you can call the DHA at 1-877-892-8391.
The Affordable Care Act, also known as health reform, offers a tax credit for businesses that have fewer than 25 employees, have average wages of less than $50,000, and pay for at least half of the employee-only health insurance. The credit is highest for groups whose average wages are well below $50,000. It can be worth up to 35 percent of your health insurance costs for all employees – full and part-timers.
Your accountant can help you calculate your tax credit.
Good luck and best wishes for your continued success!