Employer penalty for “Pay or Play” rule on the Affordable Care Act postponed

Padgett Stratemann & Co.On July 3, 2013, the Obama administration postponed mandatory employer and insurer reporting requirements that are part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Large employers, subject to the “pay or play” mandate will not be penalized in 2014 for not offering health insurance to their workforce.  The one-year delay will allow large employers time to prepare for the reporting and penalty consequences of the requirement. Under the law, businesses with 50 or more employees would have had to provide affordable healthcare to their full-time employees or pay a penalty of $2,000 for each uninsured employee effective January 1, 2014.

Employer’s confusion and lack of clarity on cost obligations of benefit implementation strategy, as well as a need for more time to carry out implementation, all seem to be suspect for the delay.  Employers have stated they need more time to comply with the obligations of the law.

Other Significant Mandates of the Affordable Care Act Not Affected? The health marketplace exchange and individual mandate to purchase insurance are still in effect for January 1, 2014. Individuals must carry insurance in 2014 or pay a penalty. Further guidance is coming to comply with a voluntary information reporting system in 2014.

What should employers do? The delay is an obvious benefit for employers to now prepare to review cost of offering affordable healthcare or paying a penalty. Employers should review their responsibilities under the ACA to understand the definition of affordable coverage and minimum essential coverage requirements. Employers should evaluate healthcare coverage extension and employee qualification for subsidies. Employers should use this time to reassess their strategy or start by creating one.

How can we help? Padgett, Stratemann & Co., L.L.P. has a Human Resources Consulting (HRC) team that can provide benefits support to assist employers in evaluating their healthcare reform strategy. Now is the best time to learn about the impact associated with this delay! Contact us today for more information!