Affordable Care Act Update (ACA)

Administration Announces One-Year Delay of ACA Employer Requirements

American Staffing Association

The Obama Administration announced late yesterday that it “will provide an additional year before the ACA mandatory employer and insurer reporting requirements begin.” The announcement was in response to concerns expressed by ASA and its partners in the Employers for Flexibility in Health Care (E-Flex) coalition, which ASA and other major business groups formed in 2011 to represent employers of part-time, temporary, and seasonal employees in the rule-making process. The E-Flex coalition argued that employers needed more time to effectively implement the complex new requirements of the law.

In a blog posted on the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s website, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Tax Policy Mark J. Mazur said the delay in enforcement of the employer responsibility provisions is designed to allow the administration to consider ways to simplify the employer reporting requirements and to give employers time to adapt their health coverage and reporting systems to the new rules. Formal guidance describing the one-year transition period will be issued next week.

In a conference call with the leadership of the E-Flex coalition following the announcement, administration officials confirmed that the delay in information reporting means there will be no practical way to determine which employers have coverage or penalty obligations in 2014. Therefore, employers will not be subject to penalties in 2014, and any penalties assessed for 2015 will be not be payable until 2016. Similarly, employer information reports for 2015 will not be due until January 2016. Administration officials invited coalition members to meet with them as soon as possible to discuss the new reporting rules and other compliance issues in preparation for 2015.

Although enforcement of the employer responsibility and reporting provisions has been delayed, administration officials stressed that employers, insurers, and other reporting entities will be “strongly encouraged” to use 2014 as a “practice year” and to voluntarily implement information reporting in 2014 in preparation for the full application of the provisions in 2015.

Officials also stressed that the delay of the employer responsibility provisions does not affect any other provision of the ACA, including implementation of the state health care exchanges (marketplaces), the requirement that individuals purchase health coverage, or employees’ access to premium tax credits.

After formal guidance is issued by the Treasury Department next week, ASA will schedule a webinar to assist its members and answer questions regarding these new developments.

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