With the Supreme Court’s recent decision upholding the individual mandate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the last roadblocks to the release of additional guidance and implementation of the Act have been removed.  It is increasingly important for employers to start focusing on how their coverage interacts with the health insurance exchanges, including understanding how the penalties for no coverage or unaffordable coverage will work, how the government subsidies will be implemented, and the interaction between their employee coverage and Medicaid.

Many employers are reporting added pressure from employees to provide health insurance.  However, with the availability of exchanges and guaranteed insurance, employers may also elect to move forward with plans to eliminate retiree medical coverage along with health care coverage for part-time employees.

Employers will also be looking for prompt guidance on a variety of compliance issues, including details of how the penalties will apply to a failure to offer health insurance, offering unaffordable health insurance, the requirement to automatically enroll employees in health insurance, and requirements to notify employees about the exchanges.  We are expecting more guidance soon that will provide a greater understanding of these requirements for employers.