BENEFITS Health Insurance

Do Employers Have To Offer Health Insurance?

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The cost of medical care in the United States has skyrocketed and is still on an incline. It is no wonder than many employees want their employer to offer a health care plan to help offset some of those medical expenses. If you work for a small business, your employer does not have to offer health insurance. Large employers are required by federal law to offer health insurance to their employees.

The Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a federal law that requires large employers to offer health insurance to employees. The ACA defines a large employer as one with 50 full-time equivalent employees. Full-time equivalent employees means that the employer must have employees whose hours are equal to that of 50 full-time employees. For example, if you have 100 part-time employees that work half days, that is equivalent to 50 full-time employees.

If you work for a large employer that does not offer health insurance, they will be fined a penalty. Some employers choose to not offer health insurance because the penalty is cheaper than paying a portion of each employee’s health insurance premium. Employers are required to report the number of paid employees to the IRS. If you think that your employer is falsifying records to get out of offering health insurance or paying a penalty, you should file a complaint with the IRS.

Small Businesses

Many small businesses offer health insurance to their employees, but they are not legally required to. If they offer coverage one year but not the next, they will not be penalized for not offering the coverage. The good news is that there are a lot of small employers that offer health insurance on a voluntary basis. So, if your employer refuses to offer health insurance and it is important to you, it may be to your benefit to look elsewhere for a new job.

The words and other content provided in the blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as professional advice (please read the Terms and Conditions for additional information).


Alicia Lillegard, Esq.

Alicia Lillegard has over 20 years of experience in employment law, human resources and insurance, working with with large blue chip companies, startups, and not-for-profit organizations. Ms. Lillegard is currently Managing Director of New England Human Capital, a human resources consultancy which advises small and midsize businesses on Human Resources compliance, including employment procedures, employee relations and employee benefits. She holds degrees from Loyola University Chicago and John Marshall Law School.

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