Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it's how we behave while we're waiting.
– Joyce Meyer

When you apply for a new job, you may face a waiting period before your new employer
gives you access to certain employee benefits, such as health insurance coverage.

These waiting periods often used to be anywhere from 30 Waitingdays to 6 months.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as “heath care reform” or “Obamacare,” limited the time period that employers can make you wait for health insurance benefits to 90 days.

The ACA also requires most U.S. Citizens and those lawfully present in the U.S. to have health insurance coverage or pay a penalty, which is referred to as the individual mandate.  One of the exceptions to the individual mandate is that you are allowed to have one gap in coverage each year, up to 3 months.

The federal government limited the waiting period for benefits to 90 days and allowed people to have a gap in coverage up to 90 days because they were aware this may be an issue for people who are moving between jobs.

California went one step further and passed a state law that limited waiting periods to 60 days.

Last week, California Governor Jerry Brown, signed a new law (SB 1034) that took a step backward and changed the limitation on waiting periods to 90 days.  This brings California law in line with the federal law under the ACA.

So, if you are looking at a new job know that the waiting period for benefits cannot be longer than 90 days.  And if you currently do not have help insurance coverage and are curious how to get coverage until your waiting period is over, COBRA may be an option, you may qualify for a special enrollment period to buy a plan in your state health insurance marketplace or you may qualify for Medicaid in your state.

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