Health Care Reform Breaking News: Relaxing 2015 Mandate on Two Fronts

Today, the Obama Administration announced another delayed implementation date for employers who employ between 50 and 99 full-time or full-time equivalent employees.  Rather than “pay or play” at the beginning of 2015, these employers have one additional year to implement a plan or pay tax penalties. This delay extends through 2015 and will now take effect at the beginning of the plan year starting January 1, 2016. 

Also today, the U.S. Department of Treasury announced that employers with 100 or more full-time or full-time equivalent employees would, as of the beginning of 2015, only need to provide affordable coverage to 70 percent of their full-time employees rather than 95 percent of their full-time employees, which had been the requirement. However, as of the beginning of the 2016 plan year, these large employers will need to cover 95 percent or more of full-time employees. We will provide additional guidance on how the delay impacts employers once we have an opportunity to fully review the final regulations issued today.

Meanwhile, on February 4, 2014, the House Ways and Means Committee advanced a bill that would redefine “full-time employee” under PPACA as those who work 40 or more hours per week, to be consistent with the definition used in other statutes and regulations. Currently, PPACA defines full-time employee as those who work on average 30 or more hours per week. This definition has been the source of many letters and feedback to the federal agencies requesting the 30 hours be moved back to 40. We will let you know if this legislation passes.