The Affordable Care Act (ACA) employer mandate provision has been delayed until 2015. This news was announced July 2, 2013 by the US Department of the Treasury on behalf of the Administration.
This significantly impacts large employers (50+ employees) who, until yesterday, were gearing up to either offer affordable, qualified group health coverage in 2014, or be subject to a penalty. Now, large employers have until 2015 to comply with the ACA employer mandate.
According to the US Treasury statement "we are extending this transition relief to the employer shared responsibility payments. These payments will not apply for 2014. Any employer shared responsibility payments will not apply until 2015."
The announcement does not affect the individual mandate, the individual health insurance tax subsidies, or the state health insurance Marketplaces which are all scheduled to take effect January 1, 2014.
The US Treasury statement included the following details about delaying the employer reporting requirements and the employer shared responsibility payments:
The Administration is responding to concerns about the complexity of the employer reporting requirements, and the need for more time to implement effectively.
The additional year will allow the Administration to consider ways to simplify reporting requirements (under section 6055 and 6056).
The additional year will provide time to adapt health coverage and reporting systems while employers are moving toward making health coverage affordable and accessible for their employees.
"During this 2014 transition period, we strongly encourage employers to maintain or expand health coverage. Also, our actions today do not affect employees’ access to the premium tax credits available under the ACA (nor any other provision of the ACA)."
Additional guidance on the proposed rules for these provisions is expected later this summer.
What is the ACA Employer Mandate?
The ACA includes provisions that applicable large employers (50+ FTE employees) will be required to offer minimum essential coverage that is affordable to employees. Applicable large employers who fail to offer affordable, minimum essential coverage will be required to pay a penalty on their tax return.
Previously, the employer mandate was to take effect January 1, 2014. Now, applicable large employers have until 2015 to comply.
What do you think about the delay in the ACA employer mandate and penalties? Is this a game-changer? Let us know in the comments below.