Some “Obamacare” Penalties Delayed

Late last week, the Obama Administration announced that it will delay until 2015 the penalty imposed on employers for not providing “minimum essential health care coverage” to its employees as part of the Affordable Care Act.  The penalty would have applied to employers with 50 or more full time equivalent employees starting in 2014.

Based on the press release by the Treasury Department, the agency in charge of imposing the penalty, as well as writing the regulations explaining how to comply with the law, there has been significant push-back from the business community about the penalty.  The main concerns raised are the lack of clear guidance from the Treasury department on a penalty that was to go into effect in five short months, as well as the complexity of reporting proposed by the department and the burden that reporting would impose on employers.

The “individual mandate” requiring individuals to have health insurance or be assessed a penalty, is still set to go into effect at the beginning of 2014.  The requirement for employers with more than 250 employees to report the value of employer-provided health insurance on the employee’s W2 is also still scheduled to go into effect in 2014.

Based on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act to date, it would not be surprising to see more delays announced on other parts of the law in the future.  The best advice when working with this law is to determine how it will affect your business and work to comply with the law as it stands at the end of the year.  This also happens to be the advice of the Treasure Department as well.

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