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  • bluecheese4u bluecheese4u Mar 18, 2013 6:04 PM Flag

    New regulations limit waiting periods for employer health plans

    New regulations limit waiting periods for employer health plans

    By Sam Baker - 03/18/13 05:08 PM ET

    Employers can't make workers wait more than 90 days to use their healthcare coverage, the Obama administration said in new regulations Monday.

    The proposed rules implement part of the Affordable Care Act that prohibit waiting periods longer than 90 days before health coverage kicks in.

    Some employer-based healthcare plans come with a waiting period between the time employees enroll in the plan and when the employees — or their family members — can actually start using the plan's benefits.

    Under President Obama's healthcare law, those waiting periods can't last more than 90 days.

    A separate provision of the healthcare law requires large employers — those with more than 50 employees — to offer healthcare coverage or pay a penalty. But the administration emphasized Monday that the 90-day waiting period itself does not require employers to provide insurance.

    If the 90th day of a waiting period falls on a weekend or holiday, the plan can wait until the 91st day — but no longer.

    Some plans don't require employees to wait a set amount of time before collecting healthcare benefits, but rather to put in a certain number of hours. Plans can't require more than 1,200 hours of service and then apply the 90-day waiting period, according to Monday's regulations.


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