Human Resources
Agencies Issue Final Affordable Care Act Regulations on Orientation Period

Agencies Issue Final Affordable Care Act Regulations on Orientation Period


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The Departments of Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services have issued final regulations regarding the definition of an “orientation period” for purposes of implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s rule prohibiting a group health plan from imposing a waiting period that exceeds 90 days before an otherwise eligible individual may enroll. The final regulations, which are effective for plan years beginning after 2014, also prescribe the conditions under which a plan may consider an employee’s orientation period as part of its eligibility rules rather than the waiting period.

The Affordable Care Act prohibits grandfathered and non-grandfathered group health plans and insurance issuers from imposing a waiting period that exceeds 90 days before an individual otherwise eligible for health coverage may enroll in the plan, but permits a “bona fide orientation period” before the 90-day waiting period begins.

The Aon Hewitt bulletin attached below highlights the key conditions that orientation periods must satisfy under the final regulations, in addition to explaining when an offer of coverage must be made in order to avoid an employer shared responsibility penalty.

Agencies Issue Final Affordable Care Act Regulations on Orientation Period