Group Disability Insurance - Eligibility
Approximately one third of employers offer employer sponsored group disability insurance to their employees. Participation tends to be greater among the larger sponsoring employers who have one hundred or more employees. Employees evaluating a benefit package (as well as employees already covered under a group disability insurance arrangement) would do well to review and understand basic provisions which are described below.
While NAIC guidelines do not require a minimum group size as a condition for eligibility, most states require a minimum number of eligible participants for an employer to be able to offer a group plan. Full time and active employment typically constitutes eligibility. As to eligible groups, they must be natural groups, formed for any reason other than for the procurement of insurance. The number of hours required per week in satisfaction of this requirement may vary by employer.
Additionally, some employers may require the completion of a probationary or waiting period for new employees for a period of thirty to ninety days before they may enroll in the plan. The enrollment period of typically thirty one days follows, allowing the newly eligible employee to sign up for group coverage.
Evidence of insurability may be required if the employee declines enrollment during the initial enrollment period and subsequently decides to join the plan. Once a policy is issued, insurers usually require a certain rate of participation of the group in order for it to keep coverage in force.