There are no state or federal laws that require employers to offer health insurance benefits to their employees. However, many small employers offer health benefits to their employees in order to attract and keep good employees. Health insurance is a major expense and a major problem for many small employers. Small employer health insurance is available from several insurers and managed care plans. A small employer is defined as one who employs at least 2 but not more than 50 employees in Wisconsin.

If an employer purchases a group health benefit plan from an insurer, the insurer is required to offer coverage to all "eligible employees" of the employer and their dependents. An insurer may not offer coverage to only certain individuals in an employer group or to only part of the group, except for an eligible employee who has not yet satisfied any applicable waiting period. An "eligible employee" means an employee who works on a permanent basis and has a normal work week of 30 or more hours. Because of the high cost of health insurance, employers may ask employees to pay some or all of the cost of insurance for themselves and/or their independents.

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