The Obama administration announced on July 2, 2013, that employer reporting requirements and employer penalties for noncompliance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will not go into effect as scheduled on January 1, 2014, but will be delayed until 2015. Further guidance is expected the week of July 8, 2013.

The Obama administration has delayed until January 1, 2015, the effective date of the ACA requirements that employers of 50 or more full-time employees report on their health care coverage and pay tax penalties for failure to provide full-time employees with affordable health coverage meeting certain minimum standards. Although these specific employer requirements are temporarily suspended, some provisions of the ACA are currently in effect. Others remain scheduled to go into effect, including the October 1, 2013, launch of the health care exchanges known as the “Marketplace” and the related employer notice requirement discussed in our client alert of May 17, 2013. The July 2 announcement did not discuss any change in the January 1, 2014, effective date for the requirement that individuals have or obtain health coverage (or pay penalties).

Citing business concerns about the complexity of the requirements and the need for time to implement them effectively, the administration announced that it would use the additional time to simplify the reporting requirements. A Treasury official encouraged voluntary reporting by employers to help with the transition to full reporting in 2015. Administration statements discussed enabling employers to have time to test their reporting systems and make any necessary adaptations to their health benefits.

Additional guidance is expected the week of July 8, 2013, and proposed rules for implementing reporting requirements for employers are expected this summer.