Final ACA Rule Keeps One Month Orientation Period

Final tri-agency rules issued Friday allow employers in some circumstances to delay the start of heath care coverage for new hires for up to four months. The rules finalize a proposal to allow “orientation periods” for new employees in determining how long they must wait for coverage to begin. An Affordable Care Act provision states that insurers or employers offering group coverage cannot apply waiting periods that exceed 90 days. The requirement applies to all group health coverage, including grandfathered plans.

The guidance states the start of the 90-day waiting period can be delayed during orientation periods that give both the employer and the employee a chance to determine whether they want to proceed with employment. However, the orientation period cannot last more than one month minus one day.

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