The Departments of Treasury, Labor, and Health & Human Services jointly issued final regulations today concerning permitted waiting periods for group health plans and group health insurance issuers.  Under Section 2708 of the Public Health Service Act, as added by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as amended, and incorporated into the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 and the Internal Revenue Code, a group health plan or health insurance issuer offering group health insurance coverage cannot apply any waiting period exceeding 90 days for new employees or their dependents to become eligible for benefits.  Under the final regulations issued today, if a group health plan conditions eligibility on an employee’s having completed a reasonable and bona fide employment-based orientation period, the eligibility condition will not be considered to be designed to avoid compliance with the 90-day waiting period limitation if the orientation period does not exceed one month and the maximum 90-day waiting period begins on the first day after the orientation period.

The regulations can be accessed here.