A question about insurance.
March 4, 2014 6:21 PM   Subscribe

If I go from part-time to full-time, is my employer (small business owner, <20 employees) obligated to offer me health insurance?

Currently working for a small business, part-time employee. I love my job, and there is enough work for me to go from part-time to full-time. When I was hired, my boss said that he didn't hire any full-time employees so he didn't have to offer health insurance.

I don't care about being offered health insurance. I will be getting married in a few months, and at that point, I will go on my partner's health insurance, so I won't even need health insurance.

What I do want is this position to become full-time. I feel that if I can reassure my boss that he isn't obligated to offer insurance to me if I go from 20 hours a week to 35-40, I think he would feel more comfortable increasing my hours.

Additional information: He has about a dozen employees, in New York State, if that makes a difference. (According to healthcare.gov, he is not obligated as a small-business owner, but I don't know if NYS has different employment laws.)
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The law generally requires that if you offer any full time employees benefits, you have to offer all full time employees benefits. It's not uncommon for small businesses strictly to limit full time so that only a select few (or maybe only the owner himself) can get the expensive benefits.
posted by MattD at 6:47 PM on March 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Well, your boss is wrong anyway, because according to HealthCare.gov, "Businesses with 50 or fewer employees may get employee health coverage in the SHOP Marketplace. Employers of this size aren't required to offer health coverage" (emphasis mine)." Source. I know this because I just worked for a large company which had many apartment complexes broken down into their own individual LLC's to avert offering health care.
posted by IfIShouldEverComeBack at 7:35 PM on March 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

I'm pretty sure the employer mandate has been delayed until after the next election.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:30 PM on March 4, 2014

What if he offers it to comply with the law, but you just don't use it?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:41 AM on March 5, 2014

>What if he offers it to comply with the law, but you just don't use it?

When there is a non-discrimination requirement such as MattD mentions, "offering" it means paying the premium, not offering to pay the premium.
posted by yclipse at 4:05 AM on March 5, 2014

Wait, really? Even if no employee uses the health insurance offered by a company, the company still has to pay?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:24 AM on March 5, 2014

Your boss may also be concerned about future protections/benefits offered to full-time employees and concerned that if you are switched to FT and something is legislated it would be seen as discriminatory to drop you back to PT. Although going FT is beneficial to you, the argument you have to make is how it is beneficial to him, his business and his bottom line. Can you suggest added responsibilities you can take on to increase your value?
posted by saucysault at 5:46 AM on March 5, 2014

Can you pitch it as a greater-hours part-time employee instead of strictly full time? If you're concerned he's going to nix full time because of the benefits and you don't even want them, why not pitch whatever the legal maximum hours that does not require benefits in NYS (I don't know what this is)?
posted by rawralphadawg at 1:01 PM on March 5, 2014

>Even if no employee uses the health insurance offered by a company, the company still has to pay?

That's the way insurance works. You pay the premium even if you never have to use it. Unlike life insurance and fire insurance, though, health insurance is regularly used.
posted by yclipse at 1:39 PM on March 5, 2014

My father ran a very small business (10-12 total employees, all full-time) in NYS for many years. In the '90s, I remember him pissing and moaning at home most nights for quite a while about some then-new regulation that required him to offer health insurance. (Or maybe it was different health insurance than his company offered its employees already? I was young and don't remember the details.)

So, anecdotal evidence only, but I *think* NYS has stricter regulations on health insurance than the country as a whole.
posted by tckma at 4:42 PM on March 5, 2014

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