I’ve been working part-time at Lowes Hardware since February 15, 2023, but I’ve recently switched to full-time. I wasn’t planning on doing it, but unfortunately, the health benefits for part-time suck, so I decided to become full-time.
I took two weeks paid off at the beginning of May, and that’s when my whole health insurance turmoil occurred; let me tell you about it.
Two Weeks Paid Off
Part-time employees get paid vacation, but I’m not sure how much and when it starts. Pay vacation doesn’t start for part-time employees until after 180 days of employment or six months.
That said, I’m not really sure how or when part-time or full-time employees accumulate leave, so it’s best to look into the benefits section of MyLowesLife.com.
My Unpaid Leave
My time off was amazing, and we enjoyed our trip to Florida, Key West, and Dry Tortugas. The downside was that I haven’t received a paycheck in the last two weeks and won’t get one until next Friday.
So, I feel like I’ve been working for free. But that’s not a big deal, as I have a second income stream.
Lowes Screwed Up My Health Insurance
When I got hired, my paperwork said I was hired as a full-time employee. So I told the human resources lady that I wasn’t full-time and was hired part-time, and she said that was okay, it wouldn’t be a problem.
Unfortunately, it was a huge problem. When the health benefits enrollment period rolled around, the system had me in as a full-time employee and, unfortunately, enrolled me in Blue Cross Blue Shield, which is the full-time insurance.
I had no clue I was signing up for full-time benefits when I enrolled. I just enrolled in what was available in the Lowes Benefits dashboard.
Everyone told me that Lowes’s full-time and part-time benefits were excellent, so I didn’t think anything of it.
My Health Care Benefits Mess Up
Lowe’s full-time benefits cost $104 per pay period, and they offer a discount if you complete some activities, including getting a yearly physical.
When you complete some of the tasks they offer, you get a $50 discount, so instead of $104 every pay period, you pay $54. So, I went to get my physical to drop my insurance payments.
About a week after my appointment, I get a bill from my doctor for $350 plus for my physical. Well, I began to freak out because preventative is supposed to be paid 100%, especially since my doctor is in the network.
So, I called Blue Cross Blue Shield, and they told me they dropped me because I went part-time. I told them I’ve always been part-time, and they said I should’ve signed up for United Health Care.
Human resources never did their job and left me in the computer as a full-time employee, which screwed everything up. So here I am, stuck with a $350 doctor bill I shouldn’t have to pay.
On Tuesday, I went to the human resource office and told them what happened, and they gave me a number to call, and the person on the phone told me that I would have to submit the claim to United Health Care.
She also told me that preventative probably wouldn’t be covered 100%. So, after I submit the claim (I haven’t yet), I would still be stuck with a doctor’s bill.
This sucks because if I had known that from the beginning, I never would’ve gone to get my physical.
Why I Went Full Time
After this scenario, I realized that Lowe’s part-time health insurance sucks. I already had crappy insurance when I had Obama Care and VA benefits, and that’s why I got a job at Lowe’s, hoping I would have better benefits.
I don’t want to continue working at Lowe’s if I don’t have good health benefits. Otherwise, why spend my time there? I’m not there for the money because they don’t pay me enough.
The main reason I got a job was to get better health benefits and drop Obama Care.
So when I discovered how bad the part-time insurance was, I asked to go full-time. I didn’t think it would be possible, but they made it happen, and I’m full-time after the Memorial Day weekend.
I also asked them if they could backdate my full-time coverage to see if Blue Cross Blue Shield would pay for my claim.
It’s not fair for me to pay for their mistake, but I’m not sure if it will happen.
The human resources lady said she would have to make some calls to see if it’s possible. I’ll have to keep bothering her about it because the bill is due in 30 days before it goes to collection. I’ve learned my lesson about relying on them to do their work.
How Many Hours Do You Need to Be Full-Time?
I told the ASM and human resource lady I wanted to work the minimum hours necessary to get full-time benefits, which is 32 hours a week.
Unfortunately, my new full-time schedule has me working 35 hours a week with a 30-minute lunch. So, that’s three more hours than I wanted, but I think I can live with that.
Time will only tell how that will affect my blogging business, but if my full-time hours affect it, I’ll see if they can drop them to 32 hours.
I can’t let Lowe’s mess up my plan to increase my online income so I can shovel money into my retirement account. However, with the economy and rollout of AI, I don’t mind working at Lowe’s to make more money.
As you know, I’m using my Lowe’s money to fund all my investments, including my Roth IRA.
How Long Did It Take To Switch From Part-Time to Full-Time?
The switch took about 3 days. I asked my ASM on Tuesday and Wednesday before my end of the shift, she told me it was approved. If you’re considering making the switch, go ahead and ask.
As I mentioned above, I didn’t think it was going to happen because we already had 3 full-time employees on the Green team. But if you’re a hard worker and reliable, they will make an exception, at leas they did for me.
There’s a lot of employees who don’t do anything at Lowe’s, so when they see a good worker, they will do anything to keep you. Maybe I should’ve asked for a raise. 🙂
Lowe’s Part-Time Vs. Full-Time Benefits
Part-time and full-time employees are entitled to benefits. However, the full-time benefits are better than part-time. I’m not completely sure how the benefits differ other than health care. Here’s what I found online.
I was told that the dental and vision plans are the same for all employees, regardless of status, when I called Blue Cross Blue Shield. I’m not sure how true this was, but I can tell you that I went to get my eyes checked and I paid my co-pay and deductible and haven’t received any other bill.
Here’s what’s different:
|Benefit||Part-Time Benefits||Full-Time Benefits|
|Medical||United Health Care: $36 every paycheck||Blue Cross Blue Shield: $104 every paycheck|
|Holiday||Four hours of holiday pay for fixed holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas)||Eight hours of holiday pay for fixed holidays.|
|Vacation||After 180 days: .110 hours per day|
After 365 days: 40 hours
After 5 years: 60 hours
After 15 years: 80 hours
|After 180 days: .219 hours per day|
After 365 days: 80 hours
After 5 years: 120 hours
After 15 years: 160 hours
|401(k)||Can contribute after 30 days of employment||Not sure, I started as PT|
|Life Insurance||The company provides $10,000 of free insurance, you can buy more if you want.||The company provides $10,000 of free insurance, you can buy more if you want.|
Lowe’s provides other benefits but I can’t remember what they are. I was only concerned with the ones above. You can get a full scope of the Lowe’s benefits by clicking here.
If you get a part-time job at Lowe’s or anywhere else, make sure they enter you into the system correctly. Otherwise, you’ll end up in the same boat as I am, stuck paying for a bill you shouldn’t have to pay.
I’m NOT knocking the part-time benefits, but it will be nice to get paid for the vacation I take next time. Also, my family doctor is in the Blue Cross Blue Shield network, so I won’t get stuck paying ridiculous prices for health care.
Don’t rely on Lowe’s or any other company to care about you or do their job correctly. It’s up to you to make sure they do their job. If I would’ve had them change my status from full-time to part-time when I got hired, I wouldn’t be in this mess.
But then, I wouldn’t have found out how different the medical plans differ from part-time to full-time.
I’ll let you know the outcome of whether or not I have to pay for the doctor’s bill or if they will backdate my insurance coverage.