A participant in the Forum section of our HR Weekly e-letter posed this question: “How long should employees be on the payroll before becoming eligible for company-paid health insurance?” Here’s how some HR pros replied:
First day on the job
“Our small engineering firm pays 100% of the employee’s coverage (the employee is responsible for dependents) and coverage begins the first day of employment.” —Liz
After 30 days
“We do the first of the month after 30 days. I believe it’s a good compromise: some trial period to make sure they are keepers, but no one waits more than 60 days.” —Susan
“We use the first of the month after 30 days. However, I’d like to see it changed to the first of the month closest to the hire date. Currently, if someone starts on the first week of the month, they have to wait seven weeks for coverage to begin. That’s not a popular answer to a new employee.” —Sharon
“We offer insurance after 30 days of employment. I think this is a great marketing tool.” —Marcia
After 60 days
“New hires are eligible the first day of the month following 60 days of employment.” —C.R.
After 90 days
“Full-time employees are eligible the first of the month following 90 days of employment. This way, we make sure the employer and the employees are comfortable in their new positions before beginning the administrative process of putting together benefits packets.” —Tracy
“Our firm waits until after the introductory period (90 days). This is fair in case the employee doesn’t make it through.” —Marion
After six months
“My company makes employees wait 6 months! I have never heard of such a thing, but what are you going to do?” —J.M.
“We changed from 90 days to six months because of the unbelievable potential COBRA liability of having some goof we let go after 10 weeks have the ‘same rights as employees’ to add spouses, children and children’s children.” —C.C.
Tiered coverage dates
“Managers and above are eligible for benefits the first of the month after 30 days. All other employees: the first of the month after 90 days.” —Maria
“Executives are eligible the first of the month following 30 days of employment. Supervisors are eligible on the first of the month following 60 days. All other full-time employees are eligible on the first of the month following 90 days.” —K.M.