The Treasury Department announced Tuesday that a key component of the Affordable Care Act – commonly known as Obamacare – will be delayed a full year. The statement, issued by Mark Mazur, assistant secretary for tax policy at the Treasury Department, was called “Continuing to Implement the ACA in a Careful, Thoughtful Manner”.
The component that is being delayed is the requirement on businesses with 50 or more employees to provide health insurance for their hires. The ACA provides that, starting in 2014, any employer fitting that description who does not provide insurance will be assessed a penalty of $3000 per employee not covered.
The statement addressed some concerns that employers have brought to the government.
Over the past several months, the Administration has been engaging in a dialogue with businesses – many of which already provide health coverage for their workers – about the new employer and insurer reporting requirements under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). We have heard concerns about the complexity of the requirements and the need for more time to implement them effectively. We recognize that the vast majority of businesses that will need to do this reporting already provide health insurance to their workers, and we want to make sure it is easy for others to do so. We have listened to your feedback. And we are taking action.
The Administration is announcing that it will provide an additional year before the ACA mandatory employer and insurer reporting requirements begin. This is designed to meet two goals. First, it will allow us to consider ways to simplify the new reporting requirements consistent with the law. Second, it will provide time to adapt health coverage and reporting systems while employers are moving toward making health coverage affordable and accessible for their employees. Within the next week, we will publish formal guidance describing this transition. Just like the Administration’s effort to turn the initial 21-page application for health insurance into a three-page application, we are working hard to adapt and to be flexible about reporting requirements as we implement the law.
The statement was clear that this delay was for the benefit of the employers alone, allowing them time to get things in order. It did not preclude the employees themselves from taking the tax credits provided for in the ACA.