July 3, 2013
By: Peter E. Hansen, Esq.
Great news for employers struggling to understand the Employer Shared Responsibility Mandate (a.k.a. the "play or pay" penalties): last night, the Treasury Department announced that it would postpone the penalties to 2015. As many of you are aware, the Affordable Care Act ("ACA") required "large employers," or employers with 50 or more full-time employees, to offer health care coverage to all full-time employees as of January 1, 2014. In light of the Treasury Department's announcement, a "large employer" will not face a penalty if it does not offer health care coverage to all full-time employees in 2014.
In addition to postponing the penalties, the Treasury Department also extended the insurance coverage reporting requirements to 2015 (although it does "strongly encourage" voluntary disclosure). For now, many other ACA deadlines still apply - including the distribution of Notice of State Exchanges and Summaries of Benefits and Coverages, wellness programs nondiscrimination, and waiting period restrictions.
Notably, the announcement does not specify whether the Individual Mandate will retain its projected January 1, 2014 effective date, although it does state that its actions "do not affect employees' access to the premium tax credits available under the ACA (nor any other provision of the ACA)." As a result, it seems likely that the Individual Mandate will take effect as scheduled. ( The entire announcement is available at http://www.treasury.gov/connect/blog/Pages/Continuing-to-Implement-the-ACA-in-a-Careful-Thoughtful-Manner-.aspx )
Formal guidance is expected next week, which will hopefully provide additional information on the Individual Mandate and what employers can expect in the coming months. Stay tuned until then, and if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call.
Questions? Please contact WS Attorney Peter E. Hansen at (262) 560-9696, or email firstname.lastname@example.org >