Trends in Health Coverage for Part-Time Workers, 1999-2012

Source: Paul Fronstin, Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), EBRI Notes, Vol. 35, No. 5, May 2014

From the abstract:
This paper reviews recent trends in coverage for workers by hours worked and firm size. It examines data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s most recent Current Population Survey. It examines trends in coverage for workers employed full time, 30-39 hours, and fewer than 30 hours. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) requires that employers with 50 or more full-time workers pay a penalty if they fail to provide health coverage to full-time workers in 2014. Although enforcement has been delayed by the Obama administration, it has raised concern that employers may respond by cutting back on health coverage for part-time workers or by increasing the proportion of part-time workers employed. The recent recession has already resulted in an increased use of part-time workers. However, since enactment of PPACA there has been a slight drop in the use of part-time workers. Part-time workers have experienced a much larger decline in coverage than full-time workers. While the recent erosion in coverage for workers employed 40 or more hours per week was stronger in small firms than in large firms, the opposite was true for workers employed less than 30 hours per week. Between 2008 and 2012, workers employed fewer than 30 hours in a small firm experienced an 11 percent decline in coverage while those in a large firm experienced a 15 percent decline. Among workers employed 30-39 hours per week, both those who worked for a large employer and those who worked for a small employer experienced a 9 percent decline in coverage between 2008 and 2012. Overall, those employed by a large firm were slightly more than twice as likely as those employed by a small firm to have coverage through their own job. In 2012, 45.1 percent of these workers employed by a large employer had coverage through their own job compared with 20.5 percent among workers employed by a small employer. While PPACA may affect whether part-time workers get coverage through their job, and employers may adjust the mix of full-time and part-time workers in the future, unemployment rates and the strength of the economy may play a larger role on workforce patterns than PPACA.