Part-time hospital employees have three ways to get health insurance.
The first option is to join the hospital’s group health plan. These benefits are typically free or low cost. Though this is the most ideal way to get insurance, it’s not always available to part-time workers. Employees who work fewer than 40 hours per week are more often than not excluded from joining the same health benefits plans their full-time colleagues participate in.
The second option is to purchase individual insurance. All employees who aren’t eligible to join their employers’ group health benefits plans can seek out their own policies on the marketplace. Unfortunately, though, purchasing your own insurance policy can be costly. You don’t have group buying power on your side when you go with this option. Even the most bare-bones package that doesn’t meet all of your health needs can be a huge investment. When you’re only working part-time hours, this might not be affordable to you. In addition, if you have a pre-existing condition, it can be difficult to qualify for the level of coverage you need.
The third option is to join a voluntary group benefits plan. Of all three options, this is the most ideal for part-time hospital employees. We discuss this option further below.
What Are Voluntary Benefits?
A voluntary group benefits plan is offered through the workplace. However, participation is voluntary. If you do decide to join, you will be responsible for paying the associated premiums for the level of coverage of your choice.
However, the premiums will be lower than you’d pay for an individual policy due to group buying power. The benefits will also be of higher quality and will better meet your needs.
Health Care Providers: The Basics
For part-time hospital employees in particular, the best voluntary health benefits plans come from Health Care Providers (HCP). Many Ontario hospitals offer access to HCP’s low-cost, high-value benefits plans.
HCP’s basic plans offer guaranteed coverage. Regardless of your medical history or when you apply, you’ll be able to get the coverage you need to take care of your health and that of your family. However, you also have the option to submit a statement of health form to be considered for a more comprehensive coverage level, at no additional cost to you.
The eligibility requirements are basic: You simply need to be an active or retired hospital employees. There are separate plans based on your age and the number of hours you work.
For active part-time hospital employees under the age of 65 who work over 18 hours a week, there’s Plan 1. This plan offers extensive coverage, including life insurance, AD&D coverage, long-term disability coverage, and extended health care. There’s also the option to add on basic or enhanced dental coverage to your plan.
If you fit the above description but are covered under a spouse’s benefits plan, there’s Plan 1A, which offers all of the above with the exception of extended health and dental benefits.
For active part-time and casual hospital employees who work under 18 hours per week, as well as retired workers under the age of 65, there’s Plan 2, which offers extended health benefits, including prescription medications, out-of-country travel emergency services, paramedical services, vision care, audio care, and more.
If you’re over the age of 65, whether as an active or retired hospital worker, don’t despair. There’s a plan for you, too: Plan 65+. With this plan, you’ll gain access to extended health care coverage. Some plans cover prescription medications, while others do not. All plans include out-of-country travel insurance, private duty nursing, paramedical services, access to the employee assistance program, and more. You also receive the option to add on dental coverage.