What are the two biggest reasons most people are afraid to lose their job? Loss of a paycheck is number one, of course. But close on its heels is the loss of health insurance coverage.
Employers are required by law to offer continued coverage to laid-off employees under the COBRA Act, but such coverage is offered at premiums that can be as large as a house payment. And it only lasts for a limited period of time. Private plans are an alternative, but these also require hefty premiums, and people with pre-existing conditions may not qualify.
Fortunately, there is a great solution that most people overlook. In difficult economies, and for people with other obligations, full-time jobs are not always an option. The solution? Part-time jobs. To the surprise of many, a handful of employers offer health insurance plans for their part-time workers. Part-time jobs with health insurance coverage can be the answer for the self-employed, freelancers, parents, and workers whose employers don’t offer health insurance.
Part-Time Jobs that Offer Health Insurance
Health coverage with a part-time position is offered through an employer-provided group plan, which has significant advantages over private insurance. Group plans do not require pre-qualification and thus accept all prior health conditions. The plans are comprehensive, and if there is a waiting period, it’s far shorter than it is typical for private plans.
But finding part-time employers who offer this incentive is difficult. Below are 11 that provide some form of health insurance for their part-time employees. All are national companies with operations likely in a location near you.
The coffee giant has more than 11,000 outlets across the U.S. and that means there are plenty of part-time jobs – with health insurance – right in your neighborhood. Employees are offered a choice of two PPO plans through Premera Blue Cross. The plans are available to all eligible employees living in the United States, except Hawaii, and can also cover dependents. Coverage begins after the first two month period in which at least 160 hours have been worked. Employees must work 240 hours per quarter to maintain coverage, which works out to be about 20 hours per week.
The company confirms health insurance for part-timers, but does not publicly divulge the details. Those in the know say you must work 32 hours per week to be eligible (i.e. the UPS definition of part-time), but that the benefits are close to the best available with part-time employment.
3. Walmart and Sams
Not only is health insurance available for part-time workers, but they also offer $4 prescriptions on more than 2,000 generic brands. According to the website, “associates have more than 70 ways to personalize their healthcare coverage options” and coverage extends to employees’ children.
Part-timers are offered the “Choice Plus” plan after 180 days of service. Dental insurance is also available as well as a vision and pharmacy program. As a bonus, the employee-paid portion of insurance premiums are taken out pre-tax, which reduces taxable income.
This is my favorite on the list because my wife has been a part-timer there for over a year (not for the benefits, just because she enjoys it). Part-time is defined as anything less than 35 hours per week, and employees are eligible to participate in the “Additional Benefits Choices program,” which offers medical, dental, and vision along with accident, critical illness, and term life insurance.
6. Barnes & Noble
They offer part-timers a PPO plan that includes an annual physical, well-child care, vision, and prescriptions. The dental plan covers 100% on preventative visits as well as “basic and major dental services.” There is also a flexible spending account (FSA) that allows the payment of medical expenses on a pre-tax basis.
The company reports a “Limited Benefit Health Plan” for part-timers and they offer term life, vision, and dental insurance as well. Employees become eligible within the first 31 days of employment, but the employee portion of insurance payments are “after-tax,” meaning there is no favorable tax benefit.
8. Home Depot
Home Depot offers medical, dental, and vision insurance to part-timers. Dependents and domestic partners may be covered, but the company isn’t explicit on this point.
Medical and dental insurance are available, and coverage can be provided for domestic partners as well as other family members. Employee premiums for health coverage are “pre-tax.”
This one was a surprise, only because of its industry. The second largest food chain in North America – with more than 1,700 stores – states that part-time employees are eligible for benefits, but that “benefit offerings vary by location.”
The largest food chain offers health benefits to their part-timers as well. But, like Safeway, you’ll have to contact your local store for details.
If health insurance coverage is an issue for you, give some of these employers a try on a part-time basis – even if the position does little more than provide you with needed coverage. Given the cost of private coverage, or going without these days, it could be an effort well worth taking on.
Have you worked for one of these companies? Do you know of other employers who provide health insurance to their part-time staff?