Healthcare Business News

Proposal limits waiting period for health insurance

By Jessica Zigmond
Posted: March 19, 2013 - 5:00 pm ET

Employers who offer health insurance coverage to their employees must offer that benefit no more than 90 days after those employees start working, according to a proposed rule that implements part of the healthcare reform law.

Before the Patient Protection and Affordable Act, employers could have waited longer to provide health insurance coverage to employees, said Michael Rosenbaum, a partner with Drinker, Biddle & Reath in Chicago. The reform law changed that, and the new regulation this week from HHS, the Labor department and the Internal Revenue Service makes clear that starting in 2014, the waiting period for employees and their dependents to receive coverage should not last beyond 90 days.

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As Rosenbaum explained, the proposed rule closely mirrors guidance that the departments released last year.

“For any purposes where an employer is trying to apply this 90-day rule, they asked for leniency to be practical and say 90 days equals three months,” Rosenbaum said, referring to instances where a 90-day period ends on, say, a weekend or a holiday. “But the law says 90 days is 90 days.”

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