The Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) generally limits the maximum length of employer-sponsored group health plans’ waiting periods to no more than 90-days in 2014. In the March 21, 2013 Federal Register, the U.S. Department of Labor, Health and Human Services , and the Internal Revenue Service jointly released proposed regulations to provide guidance to employers on how to implement this 90-day waiting period limitation. http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-03-21/html/2013-06454.htm
Separately, the proposed regulations also provide guidance to employers on the complicated situations involving newly-hired employees whose work schedules are initially not well defined. If a health plan conditions eligibility on an employee regularly having worked a certain number of hours of service per period, and it cannot be determined at the time of hiring whether a new employee is reasonably expected to regularly work that number of hours per period, the plan may allow for a reasonable period of time, referred to as a “measurement period”, to determine whether the new employee actually meets the minimum hour requirements. These proposed waiting period regulations, coupled with the recently-released proposed regulations on employer shared responsibility duties, describe how employers are to administer such measurement periods for variable hour employees.