In May, we wrote a blog post How Your Staffing Agency Can Help Manage the Impact of Healthcare Reform.
In the post, we focused heavily on the provision that was to be implemented in January 2014 that required employers with more than 50 full-time workers to offer them affordable health insurance starting next year or face fines. Some companies who felt that would add unaffordable costs to their businesses even threatened to cut jobs or move full-time employees to part-time employment to avoid having to provide coverage.
Earlier this week, the Obama administration announced a one-year delay of that provision, until 2015.
Mark J. Mazur, an assistant Treasury secretary wrote on the Treasury’s website “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.”
Mr. Mazur went on to add, “The delay 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, Mr. Mazur reported, Treasury will issue official guidance to insurers, self-insuring employers and other parties that provide health coverage. Once these rules have been issued, the Administration will work with employers, insurers, and other reporting entities to strongly encourage them to voluntarily implement this information reporting in 2014, in preparation for the full application of the provisions in 2015.
What Does This Mean for Your Business?
There are several immediate implications:
- For the next year, you are no longer required to offer health insurance coverage to employees who work 30 hours per week.
- You do not need to report on employer sponsored coverage for 2014 (originnally due January 2015)
- You do not need to track hours worked in 2013 to determine eligibility for 2014.
- You do not need to make sure coverage is affordable or satisfies minimum value.
- You DO need to provide notices to all employees about Health Insurance Exchanges (HIE) prior to October 1, 2013.
If your organization had not begun preparing to comply with this portion of the Affordable Care Act, you now have the necessary time to create a strategy that works best for your business. If you had prepared and were ready to begin providing coverage, you certainly have the option of voluntarily complying with the law, particularly if you have issued communication to your employees about the benefit. Or, you could delay implementation and use this time to plan further for 2015.
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