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When should employees become eligible for health insurance?

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in Human Resources,The HR Specialist Forum

To save on premiums, we’ve been reconsidering when new employees become eligible for health insurance benefits. Currently, new hires can sign up after their first full month of employment. Management wants to change it so new hires only become eligible after completing their 90-day “introductory period.” We would still pay 65% of the total premium. Has anyone else made this kind of switch? What do you think of the 90-day waiting period? — Eva, PA

See responses below

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

roni July 28, 2010 at 12:36 pm

All full-time, non-union hires are eligible for benefits on the first day of hire.


Deborah July 27, 2010 at 5:10 pm

Our company’s belief is that no one should be without health coverage due to the fact they cannot afford it, plus many polential candidates have lost their healthcare coverage the month following their last day of employment The healthcare reform has dramatically lessened this issue, but our company adopted the policy years ago that healthcare coverage is available the lst of the month following your date of employment. This is also a desireable offer to attract valuable candidates.


Tammy, CA July 27, 2010 at 4:46 pm

Yes, we have always had a 90-day orientation period and it works well. This usually gives the manager sufficient time to see whether or not the new hire is going to work out well. Our handbook sites a provision that the orientation period can be extended (at the manager’s discretion) and thus the benefits are delayed until the new hire has successfully completed the orientation. However, in 2014 this will change with healthcare reform and the maximum waiting period will be 90 days.


Suzanne Brady July 27, 2010 at 4:43 pm

Our company also has a 90 day wait period. Our employees must also average 30 hours per week over the 90 day in order to be eligible for health insurance. Because of the average hours that we require, it would be impossible to offer benefits from date one of hire. We don’t have any issues with this. Most health insurance companies don’t like putting new enrollees on in the middle of the month anyway. That would become an accounting nightmare.


Debra Murphy July 27, 2010 at 4:19 pm

We currently have a three-month waiting period. In the past couple of years, we have found this to be uncompetitive and sometimes it hinders hiring good candidates. In several cases, we have paid COBRA for the new employee for the three months. Given the current health care reform situation, and to be more attractive to talented candidates, we plan to drop the waiting period altogether.


Pam July 27, 2010 at 3:04 pm

Our business is a staff company that provide home care services in the home. I adjusted our policy that our employees must work 6 months full time (32 hours or more) to be eligible for medical benefits. That detours the “fly by night” employees.


Sherry July 27, 2010 at 2:30 pm

We’ve always done a “first of the month after 90 days” waiting period. I’d say you might hear some slack over it at first, but it will soon become part of the culture. I believe this time frame will shorten down the road with Healthcare Reform (must be less than 90 days as I recall in my reading), so you might want to adjust now and only adjust once.


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