Some rules and requirements apply to employer-sponsored health benefits regardless of company size. Here's the truth behind four common myths about health insurance for small businesses.

Myth 1: Employers are required to give equal benefits to all employees

Busted. It's okay to provide employees with different health insurance benefits as long as it’s based on work-related characteristics – things like tenure, full- or part-time status, exempt/nonexempt status.

In fact, companies in competitive industries often base benefits on length of service wherein higher earning, long term employees may pay a smaller contribution towards their health benefits than entry-level employees, who shoulder a disproportionate amount of their health insurance costs.

Myth 2: Employers can offer health insurance to some employees and not to others

True. But if you offer coverage to any full-time employees, you must offer it to all full-time employees.1 And while it's okay to offer coverage only to full time employees, if you offer coverage to any part-time employees, then all part-timers must be offered coverage.

Myth 3: Employers must pay at least 70 percent of employees’ health insurance premium costs

Busted. Although the Affordable Care Act (ACA) does not specify a set amount that employers are required to contribute, some insurance carriers or states require employers to cover at least 50 percent of the premium for employee-only coverage. Employers can choose to cover more as a strategy to attract and retain quality employees, and many do. In 2017, the average employer contribution was 82 percent for employee-only coverage.2

Myth 4: Employers must cover the same percentage for single and family coverage

Busted. An employer's contribution does not have to be the same for single employee coverage and family coverage, and often is not. When it comes to national averages, employers typically cover about 82 percent of single employee premiums and 70 percent of family premiums.3

Among small firms (with three to 199 employees), about one-third of workers contributed more than 50 percent of the total family premium.

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