The US Department of Treasury (Treasury) and White House (collectively, the Administration) has announced that the employer shared responsibility mandate under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will be delayed until 2015. This mandate, often called the "pay or play" mandate, was scheduled to take effect January 1, 2014. The employer mandate requires medium and large employers to provide minimum essential coverage to employees or pay a penalty. In addition, the Administration announced that certain mandatory reporting requirements will also be delayed one year until 2015. The delay is welcome news to many employers that have been struggling to implement systems to comply with the employer mandate and new reporting requirements.
The delay in new reporting requirements is designed to provide the Administration more time to consider ways to simplify the reporting requirements, and provide time to employers to adapt health coverage and reporting systems. The employer mandate is being delayed because it is difficult for employers to comply with the mandate until additional guidance is provided on the new reporting requirements, and because the Administration cannot determine penalties owed under the employer mandate until the new reporting requirements are in effect. Although the employer mandate and new reporting requirements are now delayed until 2015, the Administration is encouraging employers to comply voluntarily with available guidance. Within the next week, the Treasury is expected to publish formal guidance on the delay.