The max­i­mum wait­ing peri­od allowed before offer­ing cov­er­age to a full time employ­ee was estab­lished as 90 days by the fed­er­al Afford­able Care Act.  Then Cal­i­for­nia said it was 60 days, but the restric­tion was imposed on car­ri­ers and not employ­ers.  Some car­ri­ers have said it does not apply, cer­ti­fy­ing that fed­er­al law over­rides the Cal­i­for­nia statute, and are not enforc­ing this law.  Oth­er car­ri­ers took it seri­ous­ly but said their sys­tems couldn’t han­dle it, so they gave their employ­er groups the option of “first of the month fol­low­ing date of hire” or “first of the month fol­low­ing 30 days”  And now the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment has come up with final reg­u­la­tions con­cern­ing their orig­i­nal 90 day wait­ing peri­od, allow­ing a “one month ori­en­ta­tion peri­od” before the 90 day count begins.  Of course, the caveat is that the gov­ern­ment knows these peri­ods are com­mon­place but would not be used to “vio­late the spir­it” of the 90 day wait­ing peri­od.  The start date for the new fed­er­al rules is Jan­u­ary 1, 2015.

 

Just to con­fuse mat­ters fur­ther (which has now become a hall­mark of the ACA), the “pay or play” rules have a dif­fer­ent for­mu­la­tion for con­sid­er­a­tion of a cov­er­age offer, say­ing that an employ­er MUST offer cov­er­age to eli­gi­ble employ­ees no lat­er than the first day of the fourth full cal­en­dar month of employ­ment.   Got all that?