Business Implementation Of Obamacare Pushed Out One Year

July 3rd, 2013
in econ_news, syndication

Updated 03 July 2013 at 1:59 pm ESTdoctorsmall

Econintersect:  A U.S. Treasury blog posting by Mark J. Mazur, Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy, announced 02 July 2013 that the government was extending the 2014 implementation, reporting and payment provisions for businesses of the 2010 PPACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare) to 2015.  Details will be released within the next week.

In the blog post, Mazur indicated that the extra time was needed to simplify reporting requirements for companies and to adapt existing health coverage (where necessary) to comply with the law.

Follow up:

The requirements for business coverage applies to businesses with 50 or more employees and those that do not provide a health plan under the requirements of PPACA will have to pay a fine of $2,000 for each uninsured worker.  These provisions will now be effective in 2015.

The PPACA health insurance exchanges available to individuals and the income based subsidies from the federal government to help individuals pay for health insurance are still scheduled to be available 01 January 2014.

Here is the full blog post from Treasury Notes:

Continuing to Implement the ACA in a Careful, Thoughtful Manner

By: Mark J. Mazur
Over the past several months, the Administration has been engaging in a dialogue with businesses - many of which already provide health coverage for their workers - about the new employer and insurer reporting requirements under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). 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. We have listened to your feedback. And we are taking action.

The Administration is announcing that it will provide an additional year before the ACA mandatory employer and insurer reporting requirements begin.  This is designed to meet two goals.  First, it 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, we will publish formal guidance describing this transition.  Just like the Administration’s effort to turn the initial 21-page application for health insurance into a three-page application, we are working hard to adapt and to be flexible about reporting requirements as we implement the law.

Here is some additional detail.  The ACA includes information reporting (under section 6055) by insurers, self-insuring employers, and other parties that provide health coverage.  It also requires information reporting (under section 6056) by certain employers with respect to the health coverage offered to their full-time employees.  We expect to publish proposed rules implementing these provisions this summer, after a dialogue with stakeholders - including those responsible employers that already provide their full-time work force with coverage far exceeding the minimum employer shared responsibility requirements - in an effort to minimize the reporting, consistent with effective implementation of the law.

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. Real-world testing of reporting systems in 2014 will contribute to a smoother transition to full implementation in 2015.

We recognize that this transition relief will make it impractical to determine which employers owe shared responsibility payments (under section 4980H) for 2014.  Accordingly, we are extending this transition relief to the employer shared responsibility payments.  These payments will not apply for 2014.  Any employer shared responsibility payments will not apply until 2015.

During this 2014 transition period, we strongly encourage employers to maintain or expand health coverage.  Also, our actions today do not affect employees’ access to the premium tax credits available under the ACA (nor any other provision of the ACA).​

Mark J. Mazur is the Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy at the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Update:  03 July 2013, 1:59 pm EST

Brokers and business groups are pleased with the one-year delay in implementation of the employer portions of PPACA.  People working in the insurance field said that some businesses "were behind in preparations".

James A. Klein, president of the American Benefits Council, said in a statement:

"We applaud the Obama Administration's decision … This provides vital breathing room to implement the law in a more thoughtful and administrable way."

The delay will mostly help smaller business owners or those employers in high turnover, low-wage industries that weren’t offering coverage already.  Many businesses already have medical insurance coverage and will be less affected by the delay.

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