Trends in Health Coverage for Part-Time Workers

20 Pages Posted: 30 May 2013

See all articles by Paul Fronstin

Paul Fronstin

Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 2013


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. 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. While many employers already offer health coverage, there are other provisions of PPACA that are expected to increase the cost of coverage. As a result, there is 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. The percentage of workers employed part-time has been rising since 2007, increasing from 16.7 percent to 22.2 percent in 2011. While employers with fewer than 50 workers are not subject to the penalty if they do not provide health coverage, they may also drop coverage for part-time workers as a way to compensate for any cost increases so that they can continue offering it to full-time workers. Part-time workers have experienced a much larger decline in coverage than full-time workers. Between 2007 and 2011, full-time workers experienced a 2.8 percent reduction in the likelihood of having coverage from their own jobs, while part-time workers experienced a 15.7 percent decline.

The PDF for the above title, published in the May 2013 issue of EBRI Notes, also contains the full text of another May 2013 EBRI Notes article abstracted on SSRN: “IRA Withdrawals: How Much, When, and Other Savings Behavior.”

Keywords: Employment-based benefits, Health care reform, Health insurance coverage, Part-time employees

JEL Classification: I1, I18, J3, J32

Suggested Citation

Fronstin, Paul, Trends in Health Coverage for Part-Time Workers (May 2013). EBRI Notes, Vol. 34, No. 5 (May 2013), Available at SSRN:

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