The Obama administration announced that it will postpone the Affordable Care Act's employer mandate for one year. Under the provision, employers with at least 50 workers beginning in 2014 would have been required to provide affordable health coverage or face a fine of as much as $3,000 per employee, the New York Times reports.
The White House said it would delay enforcement of the mandate until 2015 in an attempt to address business groups' concerns over the reporting requirements. The administration described the delay as a move to simplify the reporting process for businesses. Within the next week, the U.S. Treasury Department will issue official guidance to insurers, self-insuring employers and other parties that provide health coverage. Formal rules will be proposed this summer but the administration will encourage employers to comply with the law’s reporting provisions in 2014, as originally mandated.
While the postponement technically does not affect other provisions of the law, such as establishing state health exchanges, it may threaten the administration’s ability to put those provisions into effect by January 1, 2014. Under the state exchange provision, subsidies are supposed to be available to many lower and middle-income people who do not have access to coverage from employers or other sources. However, it may be difficult for officials running the exchanges to know who is entitled to subsidies if employers do not report information on the coverage they provide to workers.