Summer Internships and The Affordable Care Act

by | May 22, 2014 | Blog, Healthcare Programs

  • Amy Letke

    Amy Newbanks Letke, SPHR, GPHR, is the Founder of Integrity HR, Inc. Amy provides workplace solutions to improve performance, reduce liability and increase profits. She is passionate about helping other entrepreneurs and business owners achieve success. Contact us for more insights - 502-753-0970 or

Decoded Regulations That Make Sense For Your Business

With summer just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about bringing on summer interns.

Internships are a beautiful thing. They offer students and career-switchers great opportunities to gain experience in their field. They can also benefit employers by providing a fresh (albeit inexperienced) prospective on the industry.

As most of you know, before running to your local institute of higher learning to find some fresh talent, you must first decide if your internship will be paid or unpaid. Remember that nifty test provided by the Fair Labor Standards Act to help you classify an internship’s status? If not, you can review that on our blog here.

Once you get that figured out – it’s time to think about health insurance.

Wait. What? You have to offer health insurance to your summer interns?

You may never have given this notion a second thought in the past, but with the Affordable Care Act in place, employers must adjust and change the way they offer health insurance to their team.

This makes offering benefits to interns a valid concern!

Recent guidance associated with the Affordable Care Act included clarification surrounding the requirement to provide health coverage to full-time interns.

However, sometimes this “clarification” may still leave managers and business owners feeling like they are treading in murky waters.

While this may seem like a whole other new and confusing concept to master, have no worries! Luckily, our Health Care Reform guru Angie Weilage (Brown & Brown Insurance) decoded the regulations and gave us these tips for dealing with the Summer Interns and the ACA.

First – Remember this:

The ACA kicks in once an organization reaches 50 or more employees. It may be important to note that businesses nearing that 50-employee mark may reach that point by hiring on new interns, drastically changing the cost-benefit of hiring said interns.

Regarding employers who are subject to the Pay or Play provisions of the law:

  • Full-time (30 hours or more) paid interns must be offered health coverage, to avoid a penalty.
  • Full-time paid interns at government entities can be excluded.
  • Full-time unpaid interns are also excluded.
  • Note, if your full-time paid interns can be classified as seasonal workers, then you can exclude them. Seasonal is defined as working 6 months or less at approximately the same time each year. Be careful not to confuse short-term full-time assignments with seasonal full-time assignments.

To learn more about who qualifies as seasonal workers, check out the Department Of Labor’s website here.

So, thanks to Angie, we now have a crystal clear idea of what exactly is going on with internships and health insurance!

Although the ACA regulations may not affect every business, it is still a great idea to keep up-to-date on the ins and outs of the mandate. Should the need for implementation in your company ever arise, you will be prepared on how to properly handle the situation!

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