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Baldwin Bulletin

Question of the month

The Baldwin Group
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Updated: July 8, 2024
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1 minute read

QUESTION:

 Is an applicable large employer required to offer health coverage to interns?

Answer:

Generally speaking, there is not a special exception for interns, and they are evaluated and treated the same as other employees under the ACA’s employer shared responsibility rules.  An applicable large employer (ALE) should determine whether a new intern is reasonably expected to work 30 or more hours per week.  If so, then the employee should be offered coverage (no later than the first day of the calendar month on or following three months of employment), even if the ultimate duration of employment is not expected to be very long.  Otherwise, the ALE is at risk for penalties.  Keep in mind that the ACA has a 90-day maximum waiting period that must also be considered when offering coverage.   

There is an exception to the above rule if the intern is a variable hour or a seasonal employee.  A variable hour employee is an employee who, as of their start date, is in a position for which the employer cannot reasonably anticipate whether the employee’s average hours will be above or below 30 hours per week (again disregarding the anticipated length of employment).  A seasonal employee is an employee who is hired for a position for which the customary annual employment is six months or less, and the period for which work is available is about the same time each year (such as summer or winter).  For these employees, the employer may use the look-back measurement method to measure these employees’ hours for a set period of time in order to determine whether they are full-time and coverage should be offered.


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