On Monday, the Obama Administration announced that for the second time in a year, employers with 50 to 99 employees will have extra time — until January 1, 2016 — before they are required to offer health insurance to almost all their full-time workers. Initially, the employer mandate was to take effect on January 1, 2014, but last summer, the Obama Administration delayed that deadline until January 1, 2015 for all employers. Continue reading
With the government shutdown and debt ceiling crisis over, Obamacare has dominated the headlines. Two stories in particular have garnered special attention. First, the national healthcare.gov website did not work and, as a result, far fewer than expected Americans registered for insurance on it. Then, millions of Americans began to receive notices from their insurers that their healthcare plans would be canceled, despite the President’s campaign promise that consumers who want to keep their healthcare plan could do so. Continue reading
Employee wellness plans have been in the spotlight lately. This is because new wellness plan rules published in the Patient Protection and the Affordable Care Act (informally called Obamacare) are slated to take effect in January 2014. Under the new rules, employers can offer financial incentives up to 30 percent of their health care coverage costs to employees who complete participatory wellness plans. Financial incentives can range from gift cards to higher employer contributions for insurance premiums.
The goals of the Affordable Care Act are lofty, but the implementation of them has proven difficult. Which is why President Obama announced that the so-called “shared responsibility” obligations under the ACA – which require certain employers to provide health care coverage to employees or pay a penalty — would be postponed by a year.
Additionally, on July 5, the Administration changed the requirements regarding the process by which state online insurance marketplaces will verify income and eligible health coverage status for those applying for subsidized coverage.
What Is A “Shared Responsibility” Payment?
Under ACA’s “shared responsibility” section, employers with 50 or more full-time employees must offer health care coverage to all employees who work an average of 30 hours per week or more in a month, or pay penalties. This employer mandate was to go into effect on January 1, 2014.
The concept is simple enough, but the implementation proved far more difficult than the Obama Administration expected. Ultimately, the government decided that it did not have the appropriate structures in place to handle the reporting requirements attendant to the mandate, so it postponed the requirement by a year until January 1, 2015. The government also cited its interest in simplifying the obligations on employers, though it remains to be seen just how “simple” those obligations will be.