Millions of Americans access low-cost health insurance plans through their employers. Under federal law, all U.S. employers with at least 50 employees must offer health insurance to at least 95% of their full-time employees and their dependent children. The law states that full-time status is working at least 30 hours per week.
But some employer-based health insurance plans cover more than just the minimum requirements as defined in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In fact, some employers even extend health care coverage to their part-time employees.
Employer-based health insurance is often the most affordable option for individuals and families. Depending on the company, you may even be covered as the spouse of a full-time employee. However, spousal coverage is not a requirement as defined in the ACA regulations; only the employee and children up to age 26 are required to have coverage.
Getting cheap health insurance through your employer is possible due to the way in which the costs are shared. Employers help pay the costs of health care for their employees; most pay at least 50% of the cost of premiums. Some employers may even pay up to 80% or more.
Compared to the plans offered on the Health Insurance Marketplace, the cost of employer-based health insurance plans is generally far less because of the cost sharing. When you purchase an individual health insurance plan, you are responsible for all the costs associated with your health care, unless you qualify for a federal subsidy based on your income.
The total amount that you will pay for your health insurance premiums depends on a few factors. Generally, the larger the employer, the more they may be able to pay for employees’ premiums. Insurance companies often provide discounts to employers in exchange for signing their employees up for a policy. The more employees they have, the more money they may receive in discounts.
If you work for a smaller company, getting cheap health insurance from your employer may be a bit more difficult. Although your employer may pay some of your premium costs, it may still be out of your budget. Before you enroll in an employer-based health insurance plan, it may be helpful to compare your estimated costs with another type of health insurance plan. You can shop for Marketplace insurance plans, estimate your premiums and determine if you qualify for a subsidy based on your income. This will give you a better understanding of the type of plan that works with your budget.