The Affordable Care Act requirement that employers with over 50 employees offer health insurance or face penalties has been delayed by one year.
In a surprising move yesterday, the Obama Administration announced on the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s website that it is delaying the implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) employer responsibility provision.
Now, employers will not have to worry about compliance with the provision, which is also commonly referred to as the “play or pay” provision, until 2015.
The play or pay provision has been one of the most publicized provisions affecting employers, and many employers have been getting nervous about it going to effect in 2014. Under this particular part of the Affordable Care Act, employers with 50 or more employees face penalties if they don’t offer health insurance coverage or if the coverage they offer is insufficient.
According to the announcement, the delay in implementation of the play or pay provision is mainly due to the Administration’s decision to postpone implementation of the new employer and insurer reporting requirements of the Affordable Care Act. The Administration said that the transition relief would make it “impractical to determine which employers owe shared responsibility payments (under section 4980H) for 2014.”
The announcement noted that the Administration has been engaging in dialogue with businesses and has heard a lot of concerns about the complexity of the mandatory employer and insurance reporting requirements and the need for more time for proper implementation. Additionally, the Administration revealed that the delay in the reporting requirements is designed to:
- Allow them to consider ways to simplify the new reporting requirements consistent with the law; and
- Provide “time to adapt health coverage and reporting systems while employers are moving toward making health coverage affordable and accessible for their employees.”
The Administration is supposed to publish formal guidance describing the transition relief for these provisions within the next week.
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