A deciding factor for a job position is group medical insurance, but one of the common questions I hear from employees is, when can I join the plan? There are a different periods in which the employee can join a plan. You may also be required to work a minimum number of hours. The law is thirty, but your employer can choose to offer benefits to employees who average at least 25 hours per week.
Your initial eligibility period is typically the first time you will be eligible to join your employer sponsored group health plan. This waiting period is usually set by the owner or HR manager. It can be anywhere from zero to ninety days. If your employer has a waiting period between 30 and 60 days, you have a grace period and can be added immediately or added at the end of the month. If your employer has a 90-day waiting period, you must be added on the 90th day regardless of when the day falls in the month. Also, if you leave a job and are reinstated or rehired, you may not have to go through the waiting period. It depends on how your employer has the plan set up.
There is also a Special Enrollment Period for employees. This is a time where something happened to your coverage, or you that was out of your control. You may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, or a SEP if you get married or divorced, have or adopt a child (pregnancy does not count), change in employment status, dependent becomes eligible or ineligible for coverage under the plan, change in residence, becoming eligible for Medicaid or Medicare, significant changes to your current plan’s costs or benefits. To hear all of the ways to qualify for a SEP, it’s best to speak with an experienced agent.
Once A year your employer must also have an annual open enrollment. This is a time of year when employees who are currently on the plan can make changes, as far as plan selections. This time also allows employees who previously waived coverage an opportunity to join the plan. This time of year typically comes 30 days before your plan renews, but your employers has the final say of when those times will be.
If you have any questions about joining your employer sponsored group health plan, it’s best to speak to your HR manager and have them let you know what period you may qualify for.