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Recommend health benefits waiting period?

health benefits waiting periodWe have just implemented health, dental and vision benefits for our 10 person company. Our health plan has a default one-month waiting period for new hires, but we can waive this so coverage starts on the first day of hire. I see the benefit of the waiting period since it provides a trial period before we incur the additional benefit costs, but I also see what an inconvenience this imposes on the new hire who then has to go on COBRA to provide coverage during the interim period.

I welcome any advice as to whether others out there recommend sticking to a waiting period for benefits.

Thank you!


Topic Expert
Regis Quirin
Title: Director of Finance
Company: Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP
LinkedIn Profile
(Director of Finance, Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP) |

Waive the waiting period. If you expect your hire to stay for at least five years, the cost becomes less significant. It is very hard to find ways to increase employee satisfaction without throwing money at the employee. To your prospect employee, this benefit can tip the scales to you vs going to your competitor.

David Mansfield
Title: CFO
Company: Pipestream
(CFO, Pipestream) |

We had the same thing at my company. I eliminated the waiting period so new employees could avoid this hassle.
Yes, it does add an extra month in costs, but is that really material in the context of the employee's total tenure with you? Unless the company is catastrophically bad at recruitment, the number of times you 'waste' that cost on a bad hire will be negligible.

Topic Expert
Bob Stenz
Title: Controller
Company: Silicon Valley start-up
(Controller, Silicon Valley start-up) |

I've worked for companies in which medical insurance started on day 1, however, there was a waiting period (3 months) applicable to pre-existing conditions. The waiting period for pre-existing conditions was waived if the candidate could provide proof of prior insurance coverage with no gaps for the last 12 months. This seemed like a good way to give employees an important benefit yet avoid getting candidates looking only for a quick medical fix verses doing the job.

Peter Schmeisser
Title: CFO
Company: Sabre Technologies, LP
(CFO, Sabre Technologies, LP) |

I say waive the wait period. The cost is small compared to the gain. MOst new employees expect a waiting period so if the is none you are up one on your competitor.

Dabney Wellford
Title: CFO
Company: Wellford Consulting
(CFO, Wellford Consulting) |

I have to agree - benefits on the first day. As you grow, if turnover increases, you may need to revise the policy.

John Nicholson
Title: C.E.O.
LinkedIn Profile
(C.E.O., |

There are now programs that provide a 90 Day health plan that are available through larger brokers. These have been started fairly recently by some insurance carriers and are commonly called "Short term health plans" These are many times cheaper than COBRA and can be renewed for up to year with certain insurance companies.


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