Health Care Reform Update: White House Extends Employer Coverage Mandate to 2015The Obama Administration announced Tuesday, July 2, 2013, that it would delay enforcement of the employer mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) for one year until 2015. In addition, the Administration is also extending to the employer shared responsibility payments for an additional year to 2015. Under the employer mandate in the ACA, large employers (i.e., an employer with at least 50 full-time employees) must offer health insurance that provides a minimum level of coverage or pay a tax penalty if an employee receives a government subsidy or premium tax credit to purchase insurance on one of the new insurance exchanges under the ACA.
In a blog post on the U.S. Treasury's web site, Assistant Treasury Secretary for Tax Policy Mark Mazur said the decision to extend the deadline is in response to complaints from the business community that the ACA's reporting requirements were overly complicated and would be difficult to implement by the original deadline of January 1, 2014. According to the blog post, the Administration's decision to extend the employer mandate for an additional year is intended to simplify the new mandatory employer and insurer and to provide time to adapt health coverage and reporting systems while employers are moving toward making health coverage affordable and accessible for their employees. The blog post provided that the Treasury will publish formal guidance describing the transition process within the next week for the employer and insurer reporting requirements.
Assistant Secretary Mazur also stated that they expect to publish proposed rules later this summer implementing provisions in the ACA that requires certain information to be reported by insurers, self-insuring employers, and other parties that provide health insurance. The Treasury will work with employers, insurers, and other reporting entities to encourage them to voluntarily report health insurance coverage information in 2014 prior to the mandatory reporting obligations begin in 2015.
A copy of the announcement on the U.S. Department of Treasury web site is located at www.treasury.gov.