Contact: Mercer Feedback
Regulators met last week to finalize guidance on the 90-day maximum for health-coverage waiting periods and make conforming changes to HIPAA regulations. They also issued a companion proposed rule that would let employers impose a new-hire orientation period of up to one calendar month minus one day before the waiting period begins. The final rules do not align the 90-day waiting period with the three-month new-hire window under the employer shared-responsibility rules, but do provide more flexibility than the prior version.
Although the 90-day limit already applies to many plans (it’s effective for plan years starting in 2014), the final rules don't apply until plan years starting in 2015. For the 2014 plan year, employers may rely on either the new rules or earlier proposed rules for the 90-day waiting period.