Part-time and nontraditional employees historically have been exempt from the insurance coverage offered to full-time employees because many businesses have not wanted to incur the expense of time and money to manage the coverage.
Options are available that will offer some basic insurance to uninsured employees of all kinds with little or no cost to the employer, says Rick Galardini, CEO of Pittsburgh-based JRG Advisors.
Smart Business spoke with Galardini about the alternatives available to help businesses make sure all of their employees can access insurance.
What are some examples of nontraditional or uninsured employees?
They can be working part-time in an office or they can be part of a work force that is seasonal, such as workers at resorts or in landscaping. Workers in restaurants, such as wait staff, often work four to five hours a day and are not considered full-time. Many nurses in nursing homes also work part-time. Some workers are just under that 30- to 40-hour workweek, are not considered full-time and, therefore, not eligible for benefits.
These examples, although found among employers of all sizes and industries, are particularly noted with small or start-up companies that simply cannot afford to insure their employees, whether considered full-time, part-time or nontraditional.
What kinds of insurance can businesses offer their uninsured full-time, part-time or non-traditional workers?
Medical, dental, vision, disability, life insurance, and accidental death and dismemberment insurance all can be offered.
‘Worksite’ products are popular because employees can choose from a variety of insurance plans right at the work place, and because they are less expensive than traditional group insurance. Worksite products are not full-blown insurance, and insurance companies do not pretend that they are. But they provide some coverage that will help the employees in case they are hospitalized, need to go to the doctor or need dental work.
What is the employer’s role in providing worksite insurance products? And what is the benefit to the business?
The employer can pay for whatever portion of the premium it wants or none of it. Employees pick the type of insurance they want from a menu of plans. There is a payroll deduction from the employee’s paycheck, pretax. It’s all managed using software or an online Web site provided by the insurance company.
The benefit to the employer is the ability to offer affordable coverage to its uninsured employees, which helps attract and retain all employees. Additionally, employees go directly to the broker or insurance company for benefits questions or concerns, keeping the employer out of the human resources game.
And what is the benefit to the uninsured full-time, part-time or nontraditional employee?
Given the option of having no insurance or some insurance, many employees will take the latter. It is a comfort for these working employees, who are a big percentage of our uninsured population, to have an insurance card in their wallet. There is also an element of dignity involved in having insurance, as opposed to being completely uninsured.
RICK GALARDINI is the CEO of JRG Advisors. Reach Galardini at (412) 456-7013 or Rick.firstname.lastname@example.org.