Friday, January 07, 2011

ObamaCare©: "Wait" for it....

Courtesy of the "evil" folks at Anthem, we learn about a few more gotcha's in the bill we had to pass to see. In health insurance, there are two very important, and different, uses of the term "waiting period." One refers to how long a carrier can put off covering pre-existing conditions, and the other to how long an employer can put off adding a new employee to an existing plan.

First, regarding pre-ex, we already know that policies with plan years that begin (or renew) after last September can no longer apply a waiting period for "the children" (under age 19). Insureds 19 years or older may still be subject to such a wait.

Beginning in '14, of course, no such waiting periods are allowed. I'm sure that will lead to reduced premiums, right?

As to those waiting periods for group eligibility, also beginning in '14, the waiting period is capped at 90 days (this is currently the law in Ohio, anyway, so no change here). Interestingly, the "employer fine" calculation isn't applicable during that waiting period (so long as it's no more than 90 days).

Frankly, this provision doesn't really strike me as too onerous: after all, either the new guy's going to work out in 3 months, or he's not. Extending the waiting period beyond 90 days doesn't seem critical.
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