The U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Treasury, and Labor (together, the “Departments”) issued final regulations, published on February 24, 2014 (the “Regulations”), regarding the 90-day waiting period limitation under the Act.  Effective for plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2014, both grandfathered and non-grandfathered group health plans and insurers are prohibited from applying a waiting period for coverage that exceeds 90 days after the individual is otherwise eligible for coverage (the “90-day Limit”).  With respect to the 90-day Limit, the Regulations generally adopt the proposed regulations issued in 2013 (which includes applying the 90-day Limit to plans that base eligibility on a minimum-hours-per-week or cumulative hours-of-service requirement). The Regulations also address the application of the 90-day Limit to breaks in service or coverage, and clarify that completion of a “reasonable and bona fide” orientation period may be imposed as an eligibility condition under a plan. The Regulations generally apply to plan years beginning on or after January 1, 2015. For plan years beginning in 2014, compliance with either the 2013 proposed regulations or the Regulations will constitute compliance with the Act.

A copy of the Regulations is available here. A copy of the Department of Labor’s News Release regarding the Regulations is available here.