America’s healthcare landscape is constantly changing. As such, it can be hard to un-derstand your rights when it comes to getting insurance.

When it comes to employer-provided insurance, there are rules under the ACA that re-quire certain companies to provide their employees with health insurance, based on the size of the company and full- or part-time status of the employee.

In Colorado, nearly 45% of private businesses offered health insurance to their em-ployees.

As a job-holder in Colorado, you have basic workplace healthcare rights that are guaranteed by the law.

Your Workplace Healthcare Rights

The Insurance Mandate

If you work for a company that employs 50 or more full-time employees, your company is required to provide affordable insurance to its employees (or face a tax penalty).

A full-time employee is one who works a total of 130 hours or more per month.

Colorado’s Insurance Market

Colorado has its own insurance marketplace established.

Connect for Health Colorado was created in 2011 to specifically fit the health insur-ance needs of Coloradan individuals and businesses.

The marketplace is an online portal where you can shop for different insurance plans. It also has options for small businesses to purchase plans for their employees.

Colorado has saw a Medicaid expansion

Since 2014, adults earning less than 133% of the Federal Poverty Level ($15,804 for an individual, $32,328 for a family of four) have been eligible for health insurance as part of the state’s Medicaid-supported Health First Colorado program.

Colorado’s strong support for healthcare for all means that affordable insurance is ac-cessible to individuals and businesses.

Getting Your Own Insurance

If your employer doesn’t provide affordable insurance coverage, you can purchase your own on the Marketplace and receive a premium tax credit. The amount of the credit is based on your household income.

When you shop on the Marketplace, you’ll find out if you’re eligible for a credit and how much it is. This tax credit will be sent directly to your insurance provider, and then you pay the difference.

If you buy your own insurance plan due to your employer failing to provide an afforda-ble insurance (and your company has over 50 full-time employees), your employer may have to pay a fine for every full-time employee on staff.

You can’t be discriminated against, fired, or be subject to retaliation by your employer for seeking your own insurance.

You have the right to notify the U.S. Department of Labor of your employer’s failure to comply with the rules of the ACA. It’s illegal for your employer to fire you or retaliate against you if you report them.

Options for Small Businesses

Even if your employer isn’t legally required to provide insurance because they hire fewer than 50 full-time employees, it may still offer coverage as an incentive.

The IRS provides tax credits for small businesses that choose to provide health insur-ance to its employees.

One tough challenge for small businesses is that the current administration’s actions could impact their access to affordable health insurance for employees.

The good news is, regardless of this, the state of Colorado offers specific options, in-cluding tax credits and the Small Business Health Option Program (SHOP), for small companies.

Your Rights When Self-Employed

If you’re self-employed, you’ll need to buy your own health insurance plan.

You can buy an individual plan through a private insurance provider, or on the Colo-rado insurance marketplace, Connect for Health Colorado.

Under the ACA, it’s illegal for a provider to deny you coverage or make you pay more for a pre-existing condition such as cancer, diabetes, or asthma (though changes to how a pre-existing condition is defined could be coming).

If you make less than a certain amount of money per year (currently $48,240), you may qualify to receive subsidies to lower your insurance premium.

Note that if you have even just one employee, the ACA considers your business a small business, in which case you should look into shopping for small business health insurance on the SHOP marketplace.

Under the ACA, if you chose to not get a health insurance plan, you may have to pay a penalty come tax time

Other Options for Insurance

If you are stuck without healthcare or an easy way to get it, there may still be a few op-tions for you.


People over the age of 65 who have paid Medicare taxes for 10 or more years are eligible for coverage. Medicare is also available to disabled people.


Health First Colorado is the state’s Medicaid provider, for people living with an income under 133% of the Federal Poverty Level.

Remember that in the case of an emergency, a hospital’s ER is legally required to treat you, regardless of your insurance status or your ability to pay for their services.

Before you take a job, you should make sure the employment agreement includes health insurance benefits if the employer has over 50 full-time employees.

If you’ve been fired or retaliated against by your employer, or discriminated against by an insurance provider, you may want to consult an attorney at Rogers & Moss to un-derstand your rights >