Reprieve until 2015 on employer mandate for health care law: But what does it mean?

Reprieve until 2015 on employer mandate for health care law:

[I]But what does it mean?[/I]

In well publicized news accounts last week, the Obama administration delayed until January 1, 2015, the employer mandate under the health care law that requires businesses with 50 or more employees to offer health insurance to those working 30 hours or more a week.

Starting in 2015 (not 2014, as was the case until the administration intervened last week), employers must pay a fine of up to $3,000 per uninsured employee or $2,000 per employee if they opt not to offer coverage. The other part of the mandate that has been put on hold is a complex set of reporting requirements; that is to say, including the value of the benefits offered, which employees they were offered to, any waiting period, and the dates when coverage was offered. A Treasury official said in the blog post announcing the delay that it plans to simplify the reporting requirements and give employers a chance to adjust their reporting systems.

We have heard concerns about the complexity of the requirements and the need for more time to implement them effectively, the blog post reads. And we are taking action. The administration encourages employers who already offer insurance to comply voluntarily with the reporting requirements in 2014.

The administration plans to publish guidance about the transition to the new reporting systems in the next week. And it expects to publish proposed rules this summer on reporting by self-insuring employers and other insurers, after a dialogue with stakeholders.

The delay does not affect the requirement that all individuals have insurance by January 1, 2014, or pay a penalty. State health exchanges – whether run by the state or city, as with Maryland and DC, or by the feds, as with Virginia – must be open for enrollment by October 1, 2013, with insurance coverage to begin January 1, 2014. Some employees may be eligible for a subsidy if they enroll in the state exchange initially, but they could lose it in 2015 if their employer starts offering affordable and adequate coverage, as defined by law.

WANADA recommends that dealers begin to think about ways to comply with the law and avoid penalties. Questions may be directed to John ODonnell, 202-237-7200 or

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