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More Guidance on “Full-Time” Employees and 90-Day Waiting Period

Starting in 2014, larger employers (generally, those with 50 or more employees) may face “shared responsibility” penalties if any of their “full-time” employees receive subsidized health coverage through an “Affordable Insurance Exchange.”  At the same time, virtually all employer health plans will become subject to a 90-day limit on any eligibility waiting period.  On August 31, the agencies charged with implementing health care reform issued additional guidance on both of these requirements.

In Notice 2012-58, the IRS outlines several safe-harbor methods for determining whether “variable hour” or seasonal employees fall within the “full-time” category (which is generally defined as working 30 or more hours per week).  And in Notice 2012-59, the IRS explains how the maximum 90-day eligibility waiting period is affected by various types of eligibility conditions.  (Notice 2012-59 was also issued in virtually identical form by both the Department of Labor – as Technical Release 2012-02 – and the Department of Health and Human Services.)