Effective Dates & Probationary Periods

The effective date of a new employee and his or her eligible dependents depends on several factors:

  • The timeliness of the complete and accurate request

  • Your organization’s probationary period

  • The size of your group

  • The inpatient status of family members on the effective date (if a prospective enrollee is hospitalized, a previous carrier may be required to maintain coverage until the patient’s discharge)

Timeliness of Enrollment Request

We must receive a Group Enrollment Form for a new employee within 60 days of his or her eligibility date. Otherwise, the employee will not be able to enroll until your organization’s next open enrollment date. If you do not have a probationary period, an employee must submit a form within 60 days after his or her date of hire. It is important to inform employees of this rule.

You may find it best to have new employees complete paperwork immediately upon hire and send it in immediately, regardless of your probationary period. We will apply probationary periods in our membership files and begin coverage on the appropriate date.

Employees may initially choose not to take advantage of group coverage for themselves or their dependents immediately upon hire. If your group has open enrollment periods, please notify them that they will have to wait until an open enrollment period to enroll in the future. The only exceptions to these rules occur when employees or dependents meet special enrollment circumstances due to loss of coverage or family status changes. (See the Special Enrollments page for more information.)

Probationary Periods

A probationary period is the length of time your employees must wait before they are eligible for health benefits.

  • Your organization determines whether or not to have a probationary period.
  • If selected, your organization sets the length of time employees must wait before gaining eligibility, which is no longer than 90 days. However, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont must administer it consistently.

The probationary period begins...

  • On the employee’s date of hire, or
  • On the day on which a part-time employee's status change makes him/her eligible for coverage. 


When employees leave employment and then return within six months—perhaps from a leave of absence or a lay-off—a new probationary period is often not required. These employees may enroll on the first day of the month after their return and must follow all other membership guidelines. If your group chooses, however, you may impose a rehire probationary period.

Dropping Coverage

Employees may drop their coverage at any time by completing a Group Enrollment Form.