These 6 Employers Offer Health Insurance to Part-Time Workers

This gird of images shows employees working at Starbucks, REI, UPS and Lowe's. All companies provide healthcare insurance to their part-time employees.
Companies including Starbucks, UPS, REI and Lowe's offer health insurance to part-time employees. Photo courtesy of Starbucks, UPS, REI and Lowe's.

Employers of a certain size, by law, have to offer health insurance to full-time workers. But some employers extend coverage to part-timers, too.

The Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, defines “full time” as 30 hours or more per week. That’s right — 30, not 40.

“That definitely doesn’t sync up with common usage,” David Frazzini, a partner and health benefits expert at the HR consulting firm Mercer.

If you clock 30 hours a week, and if your employer is large enough, they should be providing health insurance, according to the ACA.

Some employers market this as a perk but, really, they’re obligated to give it to you. Or they may offer some health benefits to part-timers, but the perks aren’t robust enough to qualify as health insurance.

Other companies really do go above and beyond what is required by law. Here are six big employers that offer part-time jobs with health insurance.

6 Places to Find Part-Time Jobs With Health Insurance

These companies offer health insurance to part-timers working less than 30 hours per week.

1. Costco

Costco, the membership-based wholesale retail chain, is known for providing comprehensive benefits and fair wages. And if you work at least 24 hours per week regularly, you’ll be able to enroll in a health insurance plan from Aetna.

The plan for part-timers has a $550 individual deductible, and you’ll be charged a copay for most doctor’s visits and prescription drugs. The company shares its health-care benefits summary publically.

According to Costco’s benefits website, the benefits begin the “first day of the second month following 450 eligible paid hours.” For example, if you’re working 24 hours a week, it will take you about four months to accrue 450 working hours. Your benefits would start after that, on the first day of the following month.

Costco stores are located in 45 states and Washington, D.C. Look for jobs near you on the company’s career page.

2. The Federal Government

No matter how few hours you work for the federal government, you’ll be eligible for the same health insurance benefits as full-time employees — as long as your position is permanent.

What varies is how much comes out of your paycheck, according to the Office of Personnel Management, the agency that manages the federal government’s civilian workforce.

“Part-time employees… receive the same coverage as full-time employees but pay a greater percentage of the premium,” the website states. “For example, an employee on a 20-hour-per-week schedule receives one-half the Government contribution towards the premium.”

You can find federal government jobs at agencies such as the Postal Service, the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Department of Veterans Affairs on the USA Jobs website.

3. Lowe’s

The home-improvement retailer offers regular, part-time workers a variety of benefits at most locations. You can enroll in medical, dental, vision and pharmacy plans upon hiring, and benefits will kick in after a full month of employment.

Depending on your area, you may have several tiers of medical coverage options.

Pro Tip

Use Lowe’s benefits calculator to see what medical coverage is available in your area.

The tool will also help you estimate how much money is deducted from your paycheck based on your selected plan. In many cases, medical plans have no deductibles or copays, and there’s no minimum amount of hours you need to work to become eligible.

Lowe’s operates in all 50 states. Check its career webpage to find jobs nearby.

4. REI

REI, which stands for Rental Equipment, Inc., is a membership cooperative that provides outdoors equipment and apparel for sale and for rent. Co-ops aren’t like traditional businesses. They’re run more democratically and are focused on the needs of their members and workers rather than consumers or investors.

So it makes sense that they offer a generous benefits package. Several health care plans are available to part-time employees who work at least 20 hours per week.

The company operates in 39 states and in Washington, D.C. and employs more than 13,000 workers. Use REI’s job board to see if they’re hiring near you.

5. Starbucks

A Starbucks employees gives an order to a customer in the drive-thru.
In addition to health insurance for part-timers, Starbucks also pays toward their college education costs. Photo courtesy of Starbucks

Starbucks provides five tiers of medical plans for eligible hourly workers, and eligibility is based on a work week of about 20 hours. The exact number is a little more complex and is based on 240 hours worked over a three month period.

“For example, if you are hired on May 2, we would measure for 240 paid hours in June, July and August. If you meet the requirement over that time, you would receive your enrollment kit in September and become benefits eligible effective October 1,” according to an employee benefits packet.

Starbucks is also one of the few major employers that will pay for your college education as a part-time worker.

Starbucks’ latest medical insurance package includes Bronze, Bronze Plus, Silver, Gold and Platinum coverage options. Depending on the plan, individual deductibles range from zero to $3,300. And copays run from zero to $30 for doctor’s visits.

Starbucks operates about 15,000 stores across all states in the U.S. Find a gig nearby through its online career board.

6. UPS

UPS has one of the most comprehensive benefits packages for part-time employees. It includes medical, dental, vision and pharmacy programs.

Plans may vary by location. According to the TeamstersCare benefits page, you’ll need to work at least 225 hours over any three month period to qualify. That’s roughly 18 hours per week. If you work 400 hours over three months, you’ll gain access to full-time benefits over that time period.

UPS operates about 5,000 stores nationwide. You can look for jobs online using UPS’s career portal.

FROM THE MAKE MONEY FORUM

What Else to Consider About Health Insurance as a Part Timer

Many reasons may drive you to look for health insurance through a part-time job. Maybe your partner has a full-time job and you don’t need to work as much. You might have child or elder care responsibilities. Or perhaps you’re looking to “retire” early as part of the FIRE movement.

Whatever the case, Frazzini of Mercer says to consider your options on the ACA health-care exchange website.

“For low-income people, the subsidies on the ACA exchanges are pretty generous,” he said, noting that subsidized health plans through the exchange may be cheaper than ones provided by an employer if you’re a part-timer.

In some cases, being eligible for an employer-sponsored plan as a part-time worker might not be a good thing.

“If you are offered coverage by your employer, you actually become ineligible for those subsidies — regardless of whether you take it,” he said.

Also be aware that some employers offer health benefits but not health insurance. For example, Target this year started offering its part-timers a certain number of free telehealth visits with doctors and therapists. And some companies offer cost-share perks for hospitalizations.

Adam Hardy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. He covers the gig economy, entrepreneurship and unique ways to make money. Read his ​latest articles here, or say hi on Twitter @hardyjournalism.