Obamacare for part-timers

I work 20 hours a week for a grocery store.  I don’t qualify for the store’s health plan, because I don’t work 30 hours a week.  I’m covered on my husband’s plan through his work.  Under health reform, will the store have to offer me health insurance even though I’m a part-timer?  I think it would be cheaper to be on the store’s plan instead of my husband’s plan, especially if the store paid for it the way they pay for full-timers.

Squeezing Every Nickel

Dear Squeezing Every Nickel,

Employers are not required to offer part-time employees health insurance, under health reform.  Part-time is defined as fewer than 30 hours per week.  That said, part-time employees who are U.S. citizens or legal residents are required to have health insurance. This is the “individual mandate” part of the law.

You will be able to buy health insurance on an exchange, the same way as anyone else who does not have an employer plan.  It’s possible that buying your own plan would be cheaper than staying on your husband’s plan.  It wouldn’t hurt to at least check out your options.

Information about your options should be available by the latter part of 2013, for January 1, 2014 start dates.  If nothing else, it will be interesting to see what new plans are offered!

Linda Riddell

About Linda Riddell

A published author and health policy analyst with 25 years’ experience, Linda Riddell's goal is to alleviate the widespread ailment of not knowing what your health plan can do for you.