To determine if employees classified as Part Time or Temporary are considered eligible for Company sponsored health insurance, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) allows those persons to be defined as Variable Employees, and has published specific guidelines for determining their eligibility. Employers must establish Measurement Periods and Stability Periods for determining which variable employees are to be offered health care coverage by the employer.
Full-Time for ACA purposes is considered 30 hours or more per week. This is not considered full time for other benefit purposes.
Variable Employees are all employees who are not classified as Full Time Employees. Because the employee’s hours are variable or otherwise uncertain, the employer cannot determine whether the employee is reasonably expected to average 30 hours or more of service per week during the initial measurement period.
An Ongoing Employee is a variable employee who has been employed through their initial measurement period.
A Measurement Period, often called a look-back period, is the span of time an employer uses to evaluate the hours of variable employees to determine whether they are eligible for health care coverage in the upcoming Stability Period.
A Stability Period is the span of time a variable employee must be guaranteed access to coverage, or is not eligible for coverage, based on hours worked during the related measurement period (more or less than 30 hours per week).
An Administrative Period is the span of time between a measurement period and the corresponding stability period allowing for determination of eligibility for coverage and for processing enrollment. Any administrative period must overlap with a prior stability period to avoid gaps.
If a variable employee moves to Full Time status during their initial measurement period, that employee must be offered coverage at a certain time following that change, or at the start of the next stability period, whichever is sooner.
A chart illustrating different periods as defined by the Company, or other tracking documents, may be used to show examples of employees with different hire dates.
Regardless of program, monthly records are generated for employers that can assist with variable employee hour tracking.