New regulations limit waiting periods for employer health plans

Under President Obama's healthcare law, those waiting periods can't last more than 90 days.

A separate provision of the healthcare law requires large employers — those with more than 50 employees — to offer healthcare coverage or pay a penalty. But the administration emphasized Monday that the 90-day waiting period itself does not require employers to provide insurance.

If the 90th day of a waiting period falls on a weekend or holiday, the plan can wait until the 91st day — but no longer.

Some plans don't require employees to wait a set amount of time before collecting healthcare benefits, but rather to put in a certain number of hours. Plans can't require more than 1,200 hours of service and then apply the 90-day waiting period, according to Monday's regulations.