October 25, 2022

Open enrollment: Help employees get health care coverage

Be prepared to help your staff members get health care insurance, not just those who qualify for the program you offer.
Staff and chefs

Open enrollment for 2023 ACA plans on the health insurance exchanges runs from Nov. 1 through Jan. 15, 2023.

You've heard it time and time again—offering health care insurance to your employees makes them less likely to consider employment elsewhere. And during open enrollment season, you're busy trying to get all those employees who qualify—those working 130 hours or more in a calendar month—to sign up or re-enroll. 

You may also have had employees say, "I've heard a lot about open enrollment. How do I sign up?" only to have to tell them you're sorry but they don't qualify for your health care insurance program because they only work part time. 

But if they're asking, they're probably interested in getting coverage, and if you can help steer them to the right resources, you may have earned their loyalty. And it won't cost you a dime.

Be a resource

Your part-time employees, those who work 30 hours per week or less, do have some options when it comes to coverage, even if they don't qualify for the plan you offer. Here are some places you can direct them to for information.

State health insurance exchanges. The Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) called for the creation of a health insurance marketplace in each state. Implementation of that mandate varies widely by state, but every state has some version of it. To find out more, employees can go to and click on a map, depending on which state they're in. 

Plans are based on what employees can afford, and in some states, if their income doesn't qualify them for an exchange plan, it automatically shifts them to the state's Medicaid health care plan.

Open enrollment for 2023 ACA plans on the health insurance exchanges runs from Nov. 1 through Jan. 15, 2023. 

Temporary or short-term health insurance. Employees who aren't able to get coverage through your plan due to a recent job change or change in status, such as marriage, divorce, change of address, or some other reason, might be able to get temporary health insurance for up to 364 days, and can reapply in most states for up to 36 additional months. To find out more about these plans and whether they qualify, employees can go to the National Restaurant Association's Hospitality-Health marketplace and choose the appropriate link.

Temporary insurance, while often very affordable, should be considered by employees who are healthy because unlike ACA health insurance exchange programs, short-term insurance plans don't cover pre-existing conditions.

Other options

Your part-time employees might have other options for individual health insurance if you don't offer a plan. They can explore possible options at where there's also a link to the Hospitality-Health marketplace, and a toll-free number to call for more information.

Your part-time employees might have questions about your open enrollment period to sign up for your health insurance plan. While you may have to disappoint them by informing them they're not eligible for your health insurance plan, you can offer them these resources to help them find health insurance.

For employees who are eligible for your health care benefits, check out these tips to improve open enrollment participation rates.

Also, check out the discounted wellness benefits (not insurance coverage) that are included in the Association’s new ServSuccess+ subscription plans for restaurant employees. They include Teledoc services, discounts on prescriptions and at-home testing, and more.