Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), large employers will be required to offer healthcare benefits to all employees who work a minimum of 30 hours per week. While the mandate will likely force businesses to extend coverage to many part-time workers, a recent survey reveals only a small portion of these employees currently accept employer-sponsored healthcare coverage.

In 2012, when eligible part-time workers were offered health benefits, only 53 percent elected to receive coverage, compared to 77 percent of full-time employees, according to Workforce magazine. In addition, while part-time workers make up 23 percent of the workforce, only 15 percent are eligible for employer-paid healthcare benefits. This means part-time workers represent only 5 percent of all people participating in their employer's healthcare coverage.

Beginning January 1, 2014, employers with at least 50 employees who are full-time – or work at least 30 hours a week – will be required to extend coverage to all these workers and the amount of part-time employees taking advantage of these benefits is expected to rise, according to the magazine.

To avoid extending coverage, some employers are placing a 29-hour cap on the weekly work amount for some employees. Long-term care facilities, rehabilitation centers and home-health agencies rely heavily on part-time workers and are among the industries most affected by the ACA mandate, states KCOY News, a local Fox Network affiliate.

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