July 11, 2013
Affordable Care Act Update
President Obama has announced a one year delay in a key requirement of the Affordable Care Act that medium and large companies provide coverage for their workers or face fines. For employers and businesses, they will have more time to understand the complexity of the requirements and implement them more effectively. Under the health law, companies with 50 or more workers must provide affordable coverage to their full-time employees or risk a series of escalating tax penalties if just one worker ends up getting government-subsidized insurance. Originally, that requirement was supposed to take effect Jan. 1, 2014. It will now be delayed to 2015.
There is no coverage requirement — or penalty — for smaller businesses. Also, for businesses of any size, there is no penalty if their workers are poor enough to be eligible for Medicaid.
The delay in the employer requirement does not affect a provision in the law that requires individuals to carry health insurance starting next year or face fines.
The Obama Administration has cast the decision as part of an effort to simplify data reporting requirements. It has said since enforcing the coverage mandate depends on businesses reporting about their workers' access to insurance, they decided to postpone the reporting requirement, and with it, the mandate to provide coverage.