California law prohibits fully insured health plans from imposing a waiting period of longer than 60 days.  (California Health & Safety Code §1357.51; Insurance Code §10198.7(c)(1)).  California law is thus stricter than the federal law, and at this point, it is unclear whether the one-month orientation period under the ACA, which is arguably not a waiting period, is available to employers in California. 

Pending California legislation (SB 1034) would repeal the language in the Health & Safety Code and Insurance Code establishing California's 60-day limit on waiting periods, and would prohibit insurers and HMOs from imposing waiting periods altogether.  (http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201320140SB1034).  If this legislation passes, California employers will be permitted to follow the Affordable Care Act's 90-day limit maximum on eligibility waiting periods, in addition to imposing a  reasonable and bona fide one-month orientation period.

Until this uncertainty is resolved, the safest and most conservative approach is for California employers to continue to limit waiting periods to no more than 60 days.

California law prohibits fully insured health plans from imposing a waiting period of longer than 60 days.  (California Health & Safety Code §1357.51; Insurance Code §10198.7(c)(1)).  California law is thus stricter than the federal law, and at this point, it is unclear whether the one-month orientation period under the ACA, which is arguably not a waiting period, is available to employers in California. 

Pending California legislation (SB 1034) would repeal the language in the Health & Safety Code and Insurance Code establishing California's 60-day limit on waiting periods, and would prohibit insurers and HMOs from imposing waiting periods altogether.  (http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201320140SB1034).  If this legislation passes, California employers will be permitted to follow the Affordable Care Act's 90-day limit maximum on eligibility waiting periods, in addition to imposing a  reasonable and bona fide one-month orientation period.

Until this uncertainty is resolved, the safest and most conservative approach is for California employers to continue to limit waiting periods to no more than 60 days.