Yesterday, the Obama administration announced that it will allow employers until 2015 before they must either provide health care coverage to employees or pay penalties under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

In announcing the extension, the U.S. Department of Treasury cited the complexity of reporting requirements by insurers and employers. Any delay in providing such guidance necessarily affected the administration's ability to impose penalties on noncompliant employers.
 
Under the ACA, employers with at least 50 full-time employees must either provide health benefits to at least 95 percent of their full-time workers or pay a penalty of $2,000 per year per full-time employee (excluding the first 30 employees) if one or more full-time employees receives a subsidy to buy coverage on a health insurance exchange.
 
Within the next week, the Treasury Department is expected to publish formal guidance describing the extended transition period. Once those rules are issued, the Obama administration is expected to undertake "real-world testing" of the reporting systems next year in advance of full implementation in 2015.