Obamacare and part-timers

I work 30 hours per week, which is less than full-time at my company.  Therefore, I do not qualify for the group health plan.  Will they have to offer me the plan, after health reform kicks in?  I’m covered by my husband’s plan, but I think my company’s plan is better than his.

Almost Full Time

Dear Almost Full Time,

Health reform won’t increase your hours to 32 per week – the minimum to be considered full-time, and therefore eligible to be offered the company’s group plan.  The company does have to count you as part of a full-time employee, but they do not have to offer part-timers coverage.

Many companies are being very careful these days about who is above or below 32 hours per week.  Some companies have even publicly stated that they are replacing full-timers with part-timers in order to escape some health reform requirements.

Regardless of how many hours you work, you are still required to have health coverage – assuming you are a U.S. citizen, have no religious objections, etc.

When January 1, 2014 rolls around, you may have more options for health plans beyond your husband’s company plan.  There is no requirement that your husband get coverage from his employer, though that may be your cheapest option.  It may be worth your while to check out the exchanges, and shop around.  The plans on the exchange will be summarized in a simple format, making them easier to compare.

If you enjoy shopping, you can look forward to it.  If you are like me, you can be glad that it’s not for another year or so.

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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.