This week, the Obama Administration announced two changes to the implementation timeline for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). First, in a significant shift, the Administration delayed implementation of what is commonly referred to as the “employer mandate,” which requires employers with 50 or more full-time employees to provide affordable coverage or pay a $2,000 fine per employee. The mandate is now set to take effect in January 2015. In conjunction with delayed implementation of the employer mandate, the requirement that employers report on each worker’s access to and enrollment in health insurance is suspended for 2014. Employers will now need to begin this reporting in 2015.
According to the White House, these changes were made in response to concerns expressed by businesses that they needed more time to correctly and successfully implement these programs. Many businesses had expressed concerns about their ability to comply with both the employer mandate and the reporting requirement by the 2014 deadline. Some employers, mostly those just over the 50 employee threshold, said they would consider cutting jobs or transitioning some full-time employees to part-time to avoid the mandate.