Guidance Issued About 90-Day Waiting Period

September 5, 2012 ( – Regulators have defined the meaning of the 90-day waiting period under the Public Health Service Act and how it applies to employee enrollment in employee benefit plans.

In IRS Notice 2012-59, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) define the application of the 90-day limitation on waiting periods for enrollment in employer provided health insurance, and provide examples for employees that may not meet the guidelines when hired but subsequently meet the requirements.   

The guidance says employers will not be considered non-compliant if the waiting period extends past 90 days if the employee takes longer to elect coverage or if the employer does not reasonably expect the employee to meet eligibility criteria, such as minimum number of hours worked per week.  

According to the Notice, the Treasury Department, including the IRS, is concurrently issuing a notice providing administrative guidance on the shared responsibility of employers under section 4980H of the  Internal Revenue Code (Code).  Notice 2012-58 is at  

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is allowing comments on the guidance until September 30, 2012.  

Notice 2012-59 is at