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Seasonal work can be a great way to earn some extra cash or get your foot in the door and become a candidate for full-time employment. Fortunately, many people looking for work may find it during the 2015 holiday season.
According to a CareerBuilder survey, 33 percent of companies across all industries plan to hire seasonal help in 2015—an increase of 7 percentage points from 2014.1 Forty-six percent of those seasonal staffers will be brought on board for customer service. Other temporary hires will be made for shipping and delivery, hosting and greeting, and clerical support.
However, if you are looking for a seasonal job that comes with health insurance, you may have trouble finding one. Holiday helpers don’t typically get health insurance benefits.
The Affordable Care Act requires employers with 50 or more full-time employees to offer health insurance coverage. The law does not require them to offer coverage to part-time employees—those who work fewer than 30 hours a week or are seasonally employed for fewer than 120 days during the tax year.2
If you are a seasonal worker who needs health insurance coverage, you may be on your own to find it, but you have options. Here are three of the most common:
1. Short term health insurance
Short term health insurance plans provide temporary coverage until you enroll in a major medical plan that qualifies as minimum essential coverage. Short term health insurance plans can have many advantages for individuals in seasonal employment situations; they:
A. Select your policy length—as few as 30 days and up to 6 months, sometimes longer depending on your state’s laws
B. Choose from a range of deductible and copayment amounts
If you determine that temporary coverage is right for you as a seasonal employee, you can quickly get a quote and fill out an online application at healthedeals.com. From quoting to payment, the entire enrollment takes only a few minutes.
The ACA requires most individuals to have health insurance that qualifies as minimum essential coverage for the majority of the year. If you plan to be without minimum essential coverage for longer than a single, three-month period and do not qualify for an exemption, you could face a tax penalty known as the shared responsibility payment.
If you are a seasonal worker who may be uninsured for the long-term, you may want to consider buying a major medical insurance plan, either in the private market, or from your state-based exchange or the federal marketplace.
When you shop a state-based exchange or the federal marketplace, you may be eligible for advanced premium tax credits or cost-sharing reductions based on your income. Click here to find out where you can shop for subsidy-eligible plans in your state.
You should also shop the private market where you can find additional ACA-compliant plan options if you do not qualify for a subsidy or prefer to explore coverage beyond the Obamacare exchanges.
It is important to note that 2016 open enrollment is underway and runs Nov. 1, 2015, through Jan. 31, 2016, which means you can now enroll in a 2016 health plan. You can only buy health insurance outside of this period if you have a qualifying life event such as getting married or divorced, moving or losing employer-sponsored coverage. If you don’t have a qualifying life event or will be temporarily uninsured until your 2016 plan effective date, consider a short term health plan in the meantime.
If you earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level and live in a state that expanded Medicaid, you may qualify for coverage through this program. If your state did not expand Medicaid, you may qualify based on other eligibility criteria. More information about Medicaid in your state is available at Medicaid.gov.
If you are seasonally employed and need help assessing your options or have questions about temporary health insurance or off-exchange health plans, call 888-839-7679 to speak with an IHC representative.
1 Adams, Susan. “Who’s Hiring the Most, Holiday Season 2015?” Forbes. Nov. 4, 2015. http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2015/11/04/whos-hiring-the-most-holiday-season-2015/
2 HealthCare.gov. “See if Your Small Business Qualifies for SHOP.” May 23, 2018. https://www.healthcare.gov/small-businesses/choose-and-enroll/qualify-for-shop-marketplace/