|July 9, 2013|
The Obama Administration announced on July 2 that the employer mandate to provide health care coverage for its employees or pay a penalty (“Pay or Play”) will be postponed until 2015. The employer mandate was scheduled to become effective as of the first day of the 2014 plan year (for plans in effect on December 22, 2012). Reporting of the health insurance coverage provided by insurers and employers has also been postponed.
The postponement is intended to enable the Administration to consider ways to simplify the reporting requirements and to give employers time to establish recordkeeping systems to comply with the reporting requirements.
Other provisions of the Affordable Care Act, such as the individual mandate to obtain health coverage or pay a penalty, have not been postponed. The Administration’s announcement specifically states that the delay will not affect an individual’s access to premium tax credits for insurance purchased on a “Health Insurance Marketplace.” Premium tax credits are available to lower-income individuals who are not offered affordable health coverage by their employers. However, it is not clear how the Marketplace will be able to determine who is eligible for a subsidy if the employers are not required to file information on the coverage they offer. Further guidance will be issued soon.