ACA Breaking News: Health Insurance Mandate Delayed Until 2016 for Select Employers

February 11, 2014

On February 10, 2014, the Treasury Department issued final regulations implementing “Employer Shared Responsibility” (also referred to as “Pay or Play”) under the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”).

Employers with 50 to 99 full-time employees (30 hours or more per week) will receive an extension to January 1, 2016 to provide health coverage for their employees.  Employers with 100 or more full-time employees will still have to offer coverage in 2015, but they can avoid the penalty by providing 70 percent of their full-time employees with health insurance in 2015 (instead of the original 95 percent).

Beginning January 1, 2016, employers with 50 or more full time employees will need to provide health insurance coverage to 95 percent of their full-time employees or face penalties, as originally required under the ACA.

The regulations also provide clarification for counting seasonal and educational employees, as well as exceptions for work study employees and volunteers.  Like the December 2012 proposed regulations, the final rules allow employers to use an optional look-back measurement method to make it easier to determine whether variable-hour and seasonal employees count as full-time.

For employers who are unclear on how to count their full-time employees or where they fit given this most recent shift in the law, now is a good time to consult with their ACA advisors and make any necessary adjustments for the next two years.

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