Obama Administration Delays Enforcement of the ACA Employer Shared Responsibility Rule to 2015

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In a move that took many by surprise, the Obama Administration on July 3 announced a one-year delay (to January 1, 2015 from January 1, 2014) in the enforcement of the employer mandate under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. These are the rules that require employers with 50 or more full-time and full-time equivalent employees to offer health insurance coverage to their full-time employees or face the prospect of a penalty in the form of a non-deductible excise tax. While the delay also includes two related reporting requirements, other provisions of the law were unaffected. According to a recent Law360 article (which quoted Alden Bianchi of Mintz Levin’s Employment, Labor and Benefits Practice), the move has ignited a political firestorm, as foes of the law have seized on the delay as evidence that the law is fatally flawed and ought to be repealed. Supporters demur, claiming that this is merely a brief delay that applies to one feature of a multi-faceted law. But for employers, the politics are a sideshow. For them, the immediate question is--what does this mean to them? A subsequent IRS notice implementing that delay made clear that the delay is limited to the employer shared responsibility rules and two, specific reporting rules. Thus, the Act's other requirements will go forward without change. These include the Act's various insurance market reforms, the requirement to provide notices to employees concerning the availability of coverage through exchanges or marketplaces, etc.  See our posts here and here about last week’s announcement.

 

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