Q&A: Is Health Insurance Required by Law for Our Church Employees?
Richard Hammar's analysis of the Affordable Care Act sheds light on this issue.
Q&A: Is Health Insurance Required by Law for Our Church Employees?

The following is a recent question emailed to Church Law & Tax from a reader. If you’d like to pose your own question, you can email us here.

We are a church with three full time pastors and three part-time support staff. Are we required by law to provide health insurance?

In Richard Hammar’s initial analysis of the Affordable Care Act for Church Law & Tax Report, he notes:

The health care reform law contains no special exemptions for churches. Churches are subject to the same requirements and penalties as a for-profit employer. However, note that employers with fewer than 50 employees are not subject to the shared responsibility provisions of the new law.

In the situation you describe, your church appears to fall below the 50 full-time equivalents (FTEs) threshold. However, it is important to note that, generally speaking, employees (such as your pastors and staff) are still required to secure their own coverage (the “individual mandate” of the ACA):

(B)eginning in 2014, "applicable individuals" are required to maintain "minimum essential" health care coverage or pay a penalty.

To help your pastors and staff with meeting the individual mandate, review this article from the December 2013 issue of Church Finance Today: “Meeting the Mandate.”

For more information on how the Affordable Care Act relates to churches, see our downloadable survival guide and its companion update supplement.

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This content is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is published with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional service. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional person should be sought. "From a Declaration of Principles jointly adopted by a Committee of the American Bar Association and a Committee of Publishers and Associations."

Due to the nature of the U.S. legal system, laws and regulations constantly change. The editors encourage readers to carefully search the site for all content related to the topic of interest and consult qualified local counsel to verify the status of specific statutes, laws, regulations, and precedential court holdings.

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